The S&P/ASX 200 closed lower on Thursday, dropping 20.90 points, or 0.28%, to 7384.50. It's up 2.2% over the past five sessions but currently 3.25% off of its 52-week high.
In local news, ANZ is facing a $25m fine, with ASIC suing the banking and financial services group for misleading customers and failing to provide promised benefits, following the final investigation to come out of the financial services royal commission.
The ACCC says it will not oppose Sydney Aviation Alliance’s proposed acquisition of Sydney Airport.
ConocoPhillips has exercised its pre-emption rights in relation to Origin’s sale of a 10% holding in Australia Pacific LNG.
German car giant Volkswagen Group has signed a binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement with Vulcan Energy.
The Australian dollar is stronger at US71.72c.
Oil prices have rebounded by around 10% since December 1.
Bitcoin is back below $US50,000. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said there was currently no strong need for a central-bank digital currency, but cautiously welcomed the possibility of one being created in the future. Lowe’s remarks come after Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was weighing plans for such a currency as part of an overhaul of the nation’s payments system.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has painted a cautious picture on future stock market gains.
Solomon told CNBC: "We would expect that we're not going to see the same rate of returns in equities and many other assets over the next few years that we've seen over the last couple of years."
Equities are on track to see three straight years of double-digit returns, as measured by the S&P 500, thanks in part to the coronavirus support provided by the Fed and other central banks.
However, Solomon added that "the returns we've received over the last three to five years are different than what we should expect as we go forward".
Overnight, the Bank of Canada decided to keep its target for the overnight rate at 0.25%, in line with forecasts and to maintain its forward guidance, which sees a rise in the overnight rate sometime in the middle quarters of 2022. Until then, policymakers vowed to provide an adequate degree of monetary stimulus to support Canada’s economy and achieve the inflation target of 2%.