US stocks have rallied from intraday lows on Friday, picking up momentum after a slow start to eke out gains for the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.22 points to 15,558.83, after sinking as low as 15,405.16 earlier in the session. The broad-based S&P 500 finished 1.40 points, or 0.1 percent, higher at 1691.65, while the Nasdaq Composite Index put on 7.98, or 0.2 percent, to 3613.16.
In commodity markets, world oil prices slipped after China ordered industrial production capacity cuts in the face of slowing economic growth. The government action added to market concerns about weakening demand in China, the world's second-largest economy. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September, finished the trading session on Friday at $US104.70 a barrel, down 79 US cents from Thursday's close. The European benchmark contract, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September, fell 48 US cents to $US107.17 a barrel in London trade.
Gold futures edged lower as worries about any shifts in US monetary policy prompted some investors to reduce their gold holdings and lock in recent gains. Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, on Friday fell $US7.30, or 0.6 per cent, to settle at $US1,321.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Copper fell for a second straight day, as concerns about growth in top consumer China weighed on the outlook for industrial metals demand, but a weak US dollar prevented further losses. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME), untraded at the close, on Friday was last bid at $US6,870 a tonne from a last bid of $US7,010 on Thursday. Benchmark aluminium, untraded at the close, was bid at $US1,794 a tonne from a close of $US1,823 on Thursday. Nickel closed at $US13,850 from $US14,175 and Zinc at $US1,855 from Thursday's close of $US1,877.50.
The Aussie dollar is buying 92.54 US cents, in line with the Friday's local close. It is also buying 90.76 yen, 69.64 euro cents and 60.15 British pence.
The Australian market is expected to follow the US leads this week as local traders await direction and world markets keep a close eye on a US Federal Reserve policy meeting.
As well as a busy day of local data on Thursday, the main global economics event is a meeting of the US Federal Reserve's key interest rates setting committee. The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, is expected to hold rates at 0-0.25 per cent, but investors will be looking for further clues about the central bank's stance on stimulus for the recovering economy.
Also released in the US this week, investors get data on GDP, consumer confidence, home prices and jobless claims.
In local news, whilst there is no major economic news scheduled for today, investors can expect ABS building approvals for June tomorrow followed by RBA private credit sector figures on Wednesday. Thursday its AIG performance on manufacturing index for July, RPData-Rismark house price index for July, and HIA new home sales for June.