In US economic data, export prices fell by 2.6% in December (survey: -0.5%). Annual growth of export prices fell from 6.3% to 5.0% in December. Import prices rose by 0.4% in December (survey: -0.9%), with the annual growth rate rising from 2.7% to 3.5%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose from 59.7 to 64.6 in January (survey: 60.7).

European share markets ended higher on Friday, ending near 9- month highs. Healthcare led gains, up 1.4%, while banks rose by 0.8%. Data showed that the UK economy grew 0.1% in November. The German economy likely stagnated in the December quarter and grew 1.9% over the year. The continentwide FTSEurofirst 300 index lifted by 0.5%. And the UK FTSE 100 index was up 0.6%.

US share markets rose on Friday. Shares in JP Morgan Chase rose 2.5% and Bank of America rose 2.2% after earnings beat forecasts. Shares in Wells Fargo rose by 3.3% and shares in Citigroup rose 1.7% despite quarterly earnings falling short of consensus profit forecasts. But shares in Tesla fell 0.9% after announcing price cuts on its electric vehicles in the US and Europe. At the close of trade, the Dow Jones index rose 113 points or 0.3%. The S&P 500 index gained 0.4%. And the Nasdaq index added 78 points or 0.7%. Over the week the Dow rose 2.0%; S&P 500 rose 2.7%; Nasdaq rose 4.8%.

US government bonds eased on Friday (yields higher) as traders squared positions ahead of a holiday weekend. US 10-year Treasury yields rose by 5 points to near 3.50%. And US 2-year yields rose by 9 points to near 4.22%. Over the week US10-year yields fell 6 points and US 2-year yields fell 2 points.

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro held between US$1.0777 and US$1.0860 and was near US$1.0830 at the US close. The Aussie dollar eased from US69.93 cents to US69.15 cents but lifted to near US69.75 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen firmed from near 129.28 yen per US dollar to around JPY127.45 and was near JPY127.90 at the US close.


Top Australian Brokers


Global oil prices climbed 1.5-2.0% on Friday. Increases in Chinese mobility indicators suggested higher demand for oil. And a weaker dollar improved buying power of European and Asian buyers. The Brent crude oil price rose US$1.25 or 1.5% to US$85.28 a barrel. And the US Nymex crude oil price added US$1.47 or 1.9% to US$79.86 a barrel. Over the week Brent crude rose 8.5% and Nymex rose 8.3% – the biggest weekly gains since October.

Base metal prices advanced on Friday. Copper rose by 0.5% and aluminium rose by 2%. Over the week base metal prices soared by between 9.5% and 15.7%.

The gold futures price rose by US$22.90 or 1.2% to US$1,921.70 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,919
an ounce at the US close. Over the week gold rose by US$52 an ounce or 2.8%. Iron ore futures lifted US$1.07 a tonne or 0.9% to US$122.33 a tonne. Over the week iron ore rose by US$5.76 a tonne or 4.9%.

Ahead: In Australia, the Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge is scheduled.

In China, new home prices data is due with the People’s Bank of China 1-Year Medium-Term Lending Facility (MLF) Rate expected to be announced.

No major economic data is scheduled in the US with financial markets closed in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Originally published by CommSec