Wall Street climbed to a record high on strong expectations the US Federal Reserve will soon cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has risen to 69.6 US cents due to a weaker greenback.
The US dollar fell after Fed chair Jerome Powell gave a downbeat outlook for the US economy in his closely-watched testimony on monetary policy to Congress.
Market snapshot at 7:50am (AEST):ASX SPI futures +0.1pc at 6,635, ASX 200 (Wednesday’s close) +0.4pc at 6,690AUD: 69.62 US cents, 55.65 British pence, 61.86 euro cents, 75.48 Japanese yen, $NZ1.05US: Dow Jones +0.3pc at 26,860, S&P 500 +0.5pc at 2,993, Nasdaq +0.75pc at 8,203Europe: FTSE 100 -0.1pc at 7,531, DAX -0.5pc at 12,373, CAC -0.1pc at 5,568, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2pc at 3,502Commodities: Brent crude +3.9pc at $US66.68/barrel, spot gold +1.5pc at $US1,418.80/ounce, iron ore -0.5pc at $US120.96/tonne
The central banker’s comments boosted US markets, with the benchmark S&P 500 index rising 0.5 per cent to 2,993 — though it briefly hit 3,000 points at its peak.
The Dow Jones index lifted 0.3 per cent to 26,820.
However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was the best performer, up 0.75 per cent, thanks to strong gains from Amazon (+1.5pc), Microsoft (+1pc) and Apple (+1pc) shares.
In addition, spot gold jumped to $US1,418.80 per ounce on the back of a weaker US dollar.
What did Powell say?
The US central bank’s chief said “broad” global weakness was clouding the US economic outlook amid uncertainty about the fallout from the Trump administration’s trade conflicts with China and other nations.
Although the US Government reported strong jobs growth in June, other major economies’ “data have continued to disappoint … across Europe and around Asia, and that continues to weigh,” Mr Powell said.
“Manufacturing, trade and