US sharemarkets ended mixed on Friday with technology shares under-performing. The Dow and Nasdaq stock gauges fell on Friday as disappointing results from Microsoft and Google dragged on the market, while the S&P 500 index edged up to end at a second straight record high. Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.03 percent at 15,543.74. Standard & Poor's 500 added 0.16 percent to 1,692.09 and Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.66 percent at 3,587.61
In commodity markets, oil prices traded mixed on Friday amid a brighter US economic outlook and falling US crude stockpiles. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in August, closed at $US108.05 ($A118.28) a barrel, only a US cent higher than Thursday's settlement. The European benchmark contract, Brent North Sea crude for September, fell 63 US cents to $US108.07 a barrel
Gold futures have climbed to a four-week high after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's re-assurance there is no set timetable for a wind-down of the bank's bond-buying program. The most actively traded contract, for August delivery, on Friday rose $US8.70, or 0.7 per cent, to settle at $US1,292.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since June 19
Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have closed mostly higher, tracking a stronger euro in summer-thinned trade, although analysts say the prospect of oversupply and vulnerable demand could weigh on prices in the longer term. At the close of open-outcry ring trading on Friday, three-month copper was 0.1 percent higher on the day at $US6,915 a metric ton. Aluminium and nickel both closed 1.1 percent higher at $US1,825 a ton and $US14,155 a ton, respectively.
In the week ahead, it's a relatively quiet week for Australia on the economic front. Q2 CPI figures released on Wednesday will be the primary focus. In the U.S. we have Chicago Fed national activity and existing home sales tonight. Home price index and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index is expected on Tuesday along with new home sales on Wednesday. On Thursday durable goods numbers are released and Friday, July consumer confidence.
In company news this week, Australian Foundation Investment Company (AFI) full year results, Macquarie Atlas Roads (MQA) June quarter traffic report. Tuesday, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) fourth quarter production. Wednesday, Australand Property Group (ALZ) half year results Thursday: Macquarie Group (MQG) annual general meeting, OceanaGold (OGC) first half results, Newcrest Mining (NCM) quarterly results, OZ Minerals (OZL) June quarter report and Friday PanAust (PNA) June quarter report, Intrepid Mines (IAU) first half results.