U.S. stocks on Friday mostly gained, cutting weekly losses, as investors remained cautious before a Federal Reserve policy meeting this week that should shed light on the central-bank's plans for its asset-purchasing program.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 15.93 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 15,755.36. The S&P500 ended fractionally lower to close at 1,775.32 and the Nasdaq rose 2.57 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 4,000.98.
In economic news, producer prices fell by 0.1 per cent in November with the core rate up 0.1 per cent, which was in line with expectations.
Slightly stronger employment numbers over the last four months, elevated consumer confidence and rising home prices all argue in favour of the Fed beginning to scale back on its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases sooner rather than later.
In commodity markets, oil prices are mixed as Libya was expected to begin exporting more crude into a market. On the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery fell 90 US cents to $US96.60 a barrel. In London, Brent North Sea crude for January finished 16 US cents higher at $US108.83.
Gold futures rebounded with gold for February delivery, the most-actively traded contract, on Friday rose $US9.70, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at $US1,234.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. During the week, the contract gained 0.4 per cent.
Copper futures closed a touch higher on London Metal Exchange (LME). At the PM kerb close on Friday, LME three-month copper was up 0.4 per cent at $US7,254.50 a metric ton. Aluminium was 0.5 per cent higher at $US1,799 a ton.
The Australian dollar is higher, as it goes into stabilisation mode after falling 1.5 per cent last week. At 0700 AEDT on Monday, the local unit was trading at 89.61 US cents, up from 89.27 cents on Friday.
Ahead in Australia, while there is no major economic news to be released, the US can expect the Empire State manufacturing index together with the flash purchasing manager�s index and revised productivity data. All eyes will however, be on the US Federal Reserve when it meets for its last policy meeting of the year on Tuesday and Wednesday (US time).
The meeting is expected to provide some clarity on the timeline for a potential reduction in the Fed's asset-purchase program.