Asian markets ended mostly higher, as Wednesday’s powerful commodity rally lifted materials stocks. The Nikkei closed up .4% to 9104, a 2-month high, and the Kospi edged up .4% to 1874, led by LG Display’s 2.7% gain. The ASX 200 rallied 1.1%, as upbeat retail sales data boosted retailers, and miners rallied more than 2%. In greater China, the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng both eased .1%.
In Europe, the major indexes closed slightly lower. Volume was extremely light, due to the American July 4th holiday. The DAX declined .2% to 6565, while the FTSE and CAC40 eased .1%. Italy’s MIB index did not fare as well, slumping .8%.
US stock and bond markets were closed for Independence Day.
Crude oil slipped .7% to 87.05, while natural gas jumped 1.2% to 2.935.
Metals fell, led by copper’s .8% drop to 3.5055. Silver shed .6% to 28.11, and gold declined .4% to 1615.
The Pound, Euro, and Swiss Franc all fell .6% on Wednesday. The Canadian Dollar eased .1% to 1.0132, while the Yen and Australian Dollar closed flat.
The ECB will issue its rate decision on Thursday, and is expected to cut interest rates by 25 basis points to .75%. The Bank of England will also issue its rate decision, but is expected to hold rates at .5%.
Thursday’s economic reports will include the ADP employment report, weekly unemployment claims, weekly oil inventories, and ISM non-manufacturing PMI. No major earnings reports are expected.