U.S. stocks gained on Friday, with the S&P 500 recording its first close above 1,800, as positive economic reports countered worries about the Federal Reserve curbing stimulus as early as December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54.78 points, or 0.3 per cent, to end at a record 16,064.77. The S&P500 rose 8.91 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,804.76 and the Nasdaq added 22.49 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 3,991.65, leaving it up 0.1 per cent for the week
In commodity prices, World oil prices traded mixed amid uncertainty about key talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program and abundant supplies in the United States. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January, closed at $US94.94 a barrel, a fall of 60 US cents from Thursday's close. In London trade on Friday, Brent North Sea crude for January climbed 97 US cents to settle at $US111.05 a barrel.
Gold prices locked in the largest weekly drop since September as simmering worries over the likely end of US stimulus efforts sent futures down 3.4 per cent. Gold for December delivery, the most active contract, settled up 50 US cents at $US1,244.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was down 3.4 per cent from the November 15 settlement of $US1,287.40 an ounce, the largest weekly decline since the week of September 3, when prices fell 5.6 per cent.
Copper and aluminium on the London Metal Exchange (LME) closed out the week considerably higher, after upbeat economic data out of Europe and the US. At the close of open-outcry trading on Friday, LME three-month copper was 1.1 per cent higher on the day at $US7,094 a metric ton. Aluminium also rose 1.1 per cent, to close the week at $US1,909 a ton.
The Australian dollar is still below 92 US cents as expectations the US Federal Reserve will taper its economic stimulus program weighs on the currency.
At 0700 AEDT on Monday, the local unit was trading at 91.78 US cents, almost level with 91.79 cents on Friday.
In economic news today, no major data is scheduled whilst in the US, we can expect pending home sales data and the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing index release.