Scoreboard: Market calm

European and US sharemarkets were little changed overnight, while the Australian dollar gained ground against the greenback.

In the US, the NFIB business optimism index rose from 95.3 to 96.1 in October. And chain store sales were up 3.8 per cent in the latest week compared with a year earlier according to Redbook, down from 3.9 per cent in the previous week.

European shares rose modestly on Tuesday. Shares in Vodafone rose by 5.4 per cent after releasing earnings figures and the result helped other telecoms. But investor sentiment was dented by weakness in shares of Italian banks. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.3 per cent with both the UK FTSE and German Dax up by 0.2 per cent. In London trade shares in BHP Billiton fell by 1.0 per cent with Rio Tinto down by 1.3 per cent.

US sharemarkets were little changed in late trade on Tuesday. Shares in Alibaba fell by 3.6 per cent after rising 4 per cent the previous day, despite racking up $9.3 billion in online sales on “Singles Day”. With just over an hour of trade to go the Dow Jones was down by 17 points, or 0.1 per cent, the S&P 500 index was down by nearly 0.1 per cent and the Nasdaq was up by 1.8 points, or less than 0.1 per cent.

The US treasuries market was closed for observance of the Veterans Day holiday. US Treasury will sell $24 billion in 10-year notes on Wednesday and $16bn in 30-year bonds on Thursday. US two-year yields stand near 0.54 per cent while US 10-year yields are at 2.36 per cent.

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade on Tuesday. The Euro rose from lows near $US1.2395 to highs near $US1.2500, and was around $US1.2475 in late US trade. The Australian dollar rose from lows near US85.90c to near US87.15c, and was around US87.00c in late US trade. The Japanese yen weakened from 115.13 yen per US dollar to ¥116.06 but was back near ¥115.30 in late US trade.

World oil prices were mixed on Tuesday with investors dissecting news that brokers were reducing price targets. Thomson Reuters notes “JPMorgan slashed its 2015 Brent price forecast by $33 to $82 per barrel on Monday, citing supply pressures in the Atlantic Basin and the apparent inability of OPEC member states to work cohesively to cut production they meet later this month.” Brent crude fell by US67c, or 0.8 per cent, to $US81.67 a barrel. But US Nymex crude price rose by US54c, or 0.7 per cent, to $US77.94 a barrel.

Base metal prices rose by up to 1.2 per cent on the London Metal Exchange on Tuesday with nickel and zinc leading the way. Gold rose slightly on Tuesday as the US dollar eased with Comex gold futures up by $US3.20 an ounce or 0.3 per cent to $US1,163.00 per ounce. Iron ore was unchanged at $US75.50 a tonne on Tuesday.

Ahead: In Australia, the wage price index is released with the monthly consumer confidence index. In the US, weekly mortgage finance data is issued together with wholesale sales and inventories.

Craig James is chief economist at CommSec.

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