Stocks on Wall Street fluctuated between small gains and losses, with blue chips ending in positive territory but the broader measures falling back.
Investors had to weigh a disappointing report on private-sector jobs against hopes the US Federal Reserve will act more quickly to prop up the economy.
The number of private-sector jobs unexpectedly dropped last month by 39,000, pointing to continued labour market weakness. Meanwhile, the gold rally continued with the latest high topping $US1351 an ounce.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at its peak during a see-saw session – up 21,95 points, or 0.2%, at 10,966.67.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index was down 0.1% to 1159.92 and the Nasdaq Composite was off 0.8% at 2380.66.
Economically sensitive sectors including materials and industrials provided the upside, while declines were in defensive areas such as telecommunications and utilities.
Other markets: Europe, Asia up
European stock markets rose as investors speculated on another round of so-called quantitative easing in the US after the Bank of Japan’s rate cut earlier in the week.
Resources stocks gained, led by mining stocks, on increases in commodity prices, including gold. African Barrick Gold rose 3.6%, Anglo American advanced 4.2%, Rio Tinto climbed 3.5%, and BHP Billiton gained 3%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.5% at 262.51. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.8% to 5681.39, Germany's DAX rose 0.9% to 6270.73 and France's CAC-40 climbed 0.9% to 3764.91.
In Asia, all markets rose strongly with real-estate stocks pushing Japan's stock market to a two-month high, while Hong Kong stocks rose to their highest closing level in nearly 11 months. Korean stockers were the highest in nearly three years.
The Nikkei Stock Average climbed 1.8% to 9691.43, its highest close since August 3. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.7% to 4686.79, a five-month high, and Korea's Kospi Composite rose 1.3% to 1903.95, its best close since December 27, 2007.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tacked on 1.1% to 22,880.41. China's markets remained closed for the Golden Week holiday.
India’s Sensex closed 0.7% up at 20,543.08, just 330 points short of its all-time high in 2008, while Singapore’s Strait Times rose 0.9% to 3190.07.
Commodities: Oil, gold up
Crude-oil futures rebounded after US government data offered a mixed picture of oil and fuel supplies. The US Department of Energy said crude-oil stockpiles rose by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended October 1, a much larger increase than analysts expected.
Light, sweet crude oil for November delivery traded 15USc higher at $US82.98 a barrel in New York. Brent crude oil on the ICE futures exchange traded 21USc higher at $US85.05 a barrel.
Gold futures hit a record above $US1350 overnight and remained in solidly positive territory as participants continued to buy the metal as a hedge against currency devaluations.
The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, was up $US5.70, or 0.4%, at $US1346 an ounce in New York. It hit $US1351 in electronic activity overnight.
Currencies: Dollar down, euro up
The US dollar fell broadly on the weak US jobs data, while the euro soared above $US1.39, its highest level against the dollar since February.
The euro was at $US1.3930 from $US1.3836 late on Tuesday. The dollar was at ¥82.85 from ¥83.20. The latest level was below its previous 15-year low of ¥82.87.
The euro was at ¥115.40 from ¥115.11. The UK pound was at $US1.5904 from $US1.5893, and the dollar was at 0.9621 Swiss franc, from 0.9671. It fell as low as 0.9598, its lowest ever.
Thu, 07 Oct 2010