The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 114.89 points to close at 14,909.60, pulling back after logging its third-straight day higher. The S&P500 fell 6.92 points to finish at 1,606.28 and the Nasdaq eked out a gain of 1.38 points to end at 3,403.25.
On the economic front, business activity index in the Midwest fell in June to 51.6 from 58.7 in May, according to the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago. A Reuters survey of economists on average expected a median reading of 56.0 in June versus the May figure of 58.7.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment improved in late June, with the final reading on the overall index at 84.1, above the preliminary reading of 82.7, according to Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the final June reading of 82.8.
In commodity markets, global oil prices fell modestly after strong rallies this week in a bout of profit-taking ahead of the weekend. New York�s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for August, closed at $US96.56 a barrel, down 49 US cents from Thursday. In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August shed 66 US cents to settle at $US102.16 a barrel.
Traders will closely watch gold prices, as the precious metal dipped below a key level of $1,200 per ounce. Analysts warned that miners could be severely affected if prices remain this low. Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, on Friday rose $US12.10, or one per cent, to settle at $US1,223.70 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.Futures early Friday fell as low as $US1,179.40 an ounce, the lowest intraday price since August 2010.
Copper prices remained steady on the London Metal Exchange (LME), as concerns eased over China�s economic growth. At the PM kerb close on Friday, LME three-month copper was down just 50 US cents at $US6,749.50 a metric ton. The metal earlier rose 1.2 per cent to 6,828.75 a ton. Aluminum was 0.4 per cent higher at $US1,772.50 a ton.
On Friday, the S&P/ASX200 index fell 8.7 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,802.6 while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 9.4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,775.4.The Aussie dollar was weaker, trading at 91.3 US cents, down from the local close of 91.36 US cents. But the Aussie hit a fresh three-year low at 91.10 US cents at 5.15am today on renewed speculation about the US Fed tapering its stimulus efforts.
In economics news today, we have AiG Performance of Manufacturing index for June, RP-Data Rismark house prices for June, TD Securities inflation gauge for June and RBA commodity prices for June. Tuesday all eyes will be on RBA rates decision for June at 2.30pm and Wednesday ABS retail trade and international trade in goods and services, PSI for June, HIAn new home sales. Thursday we can expect ABS Building approvals for May and Friday rounds off the week with AiG/HIA performance of construction index for June.
In the US, PMI manufacturing index and the ISM manufacturing index is released today. Tomorrow its factory orders, auto sales and on Wednesday MBA mortgage applications, ADP employment report, international trade, ISM non-mfg index and oil and gas inventories. Thursday markets are closed for Independence Day and Friday the employment situation is detailed.