CMC Markets Weekly Report

The S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent below their respective all-time highs set in the earlier in the month to close at 1,656 and 15,081. Whilst the tech-heavy NASDAQ finished the week down 3.34 points to 3,603 points.

The S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent below their respective all-time highs set in the earlier in the month to close at 1,656 and 15,081. Whilst the tech-heavy NASDAQ finished the week down 3.34 points to 3,603 points.

In US economic data, consumer sentiment weakened from 85.1 in July to a provisional reading of 80.1 In August. But US housing starts lift by 5.9 percent in July to a 896,000 annual rate, close to forecasts. And US productivity grew at a 0.9 percent annual rate in the June quarter with unit labour costs up 1.4 percent.

US stocks face continued challenges and a further push off recent highs as more retailers report earnings this week and Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes are released.

In commodity markets, Oil prices edged higher driven by worries over more unrest in Egypt, which sits astride the key Suez Canal and Sumed pipeline conduits for oil flowing from the Gulf. In New York the benchmark WTI crude for September delivery added 0.13 cents to end at $US107.46 ($A118.22) a barrel on Friday. In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October finished at $US110.40 a barrel, up 0.94 cents.

Gold for December delivery rose $US10.10, or 0.7 per cent, to settle at $US1,371 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, an eight-week high.

Copper prices have closed at their highest level in 10 weeks on the London Metal Exchange (LME), with investors encouraged by a run of strong macro-economic data.

At the PM kerb close on Friday, the LME's flagship three-month contract was up 1.2 per cent at $US7,399 a metric ton, its highest close since June 5.

Aluminium was up 1.9 per cent at $US1,945 a ton.

The Australian dollar is higher after weak economic reports cast doubt over the recovery of the US economy, putting downward pressure on the greenback. At 0700 AEST on Monday, the local unit was trading at 91.87 US cents, up from 91.57 cents on Friday.

In economic news on Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is due to release new motor vehicle sales for July. The US has no major economic data released.

In equities news, BlueScope Steel (BSL), Amcor (AMC), Aurizon (AZJ), The Reject Shop (TRS), Federation Centres (FDC), Challenger Financial (CFG), Dexus Property Group (DXS), and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (BEN) are all expected to post full year results.

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