US stocks fell on Friday and posted their biggest weekly decline since June as investors focused on when the Federal Reserve would begin to scale back its stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.47 percent to 15,425.51. The S&P 500 declined 0.36 percent to 1,691.42 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.25 percent to 3,660.11.
In commodity markets, Oil prices rose after China posted upbeat industrial output data that bolstered the outlook for the world's top energy consumer. The data came as the International Energy Agency (IEA) trimmed its outlook for world oil demand growth over the next 18 months and highlighted threats to the dominance of producer cartel OPEC.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in November climbed $US1.45 cents to stand at $US1,06.11 a barrel in London midday deals. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for September, jumped $US2.57 to $US105.97 a barrel.
Gold edged higher while platinum notched an eight-week high as stronger Chinese economic data bolstered investor interest in both metals. Gold for December delivery, the most active contract, on Friday rose $US2.30, or 0.2 per cent, to settle at $US1,312.20 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices are also up 0.2 per cent on the week.
Base metals on the London Metal Exchange closed higher after prices surged following another round of upbeat Chinese economic data that stoked investor hopes for better demand from the world's top metals consumer. At the close of open-outcry trading in the London ring on Friday, LME three-month copper was 1.2 per cent higher on the day at $US7,274 a metric ton, it's highest closing price since early June. Aluminium closed up 1.6 per cent at $US1,870 a ton.
The Australian dollar is higher as the currency continues to extend its gains following the release of strong Chinese data. This morning, the local unit was trading at 91.94 US cents, up from 91.40 cents on Friday.
China's industrial production growth accelerated in July to a five-month high of 9.7 percent year-on-year, the Chinese government said.
In economic news on Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the lending finance figures for June.
In equities news, Newcrest Mining (NCM), UGL and JB Hi-Fi (JBF) are due to post full year results, while GPT Group (GPT) is expected to announce first half results and James Hardie Industries (JHX) is slated to release its first quarter results and hold its annual general meeting.