CMC Markets Weekly Report

Stocks in the U.S. capped the week with impressive gains as investors seemed to shrug off a batch of mixed economic reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 126.80 points to close at 16,154.39. The S&P500 climbed 8.80 points to finish at 1,838.63 and the Nasdaq edged up 3.35 points to close at 4,244.03.

Stocks in the U.S. capped the week with impressive gains as investors seemed to shrug off a batch of mixed economic reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 126.80 points to close at 16,154.39. The S&P500 climbed 8.80 points to finish at 1,838.63 and the Nasdaq edged up 3.35 points to close at 4,244.03.

On the economic front, consumer sentiment was unchanged in early February at 81.2, according to the preliminary reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a February reading of 80.6.

Meanwhile, export prices rose 0.2 per cent, while import prices ticked up 0.1 per cent.

Industrial production declined 0.3 per cent in January, against an expectations for a gain of 0.3 per cent.

Economists trimmed their forecasts for U.S. economic growth in the first quarter of the year, with payroll expansion seen remaining somewhat subdued, but they expect the pace of activity to pick up in the second quarter.

In commodity markets, Oil prices held up with New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March, edged five US cents lower from Thursday's close to $US100.30 a barrel. Europe's benchmark contract, Brent North Sea crude for April delivery, picked up 56 US cents to $US109.08 a barrel in London deals.

Gold posted the biggest weekly gain since August as signs of a faltering recovery in the US economy boosts demand for precious metals as a haven. Gold futures for April delivery rose $US18.5, or 1.4 per cent, to settle at $US1,318.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

Base metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME) have closed higher after a weaker US dollar helped lift their appeal to buyers holding other currencies. At the close of open-outcry trading in the LME ring on Friday, three-month copper was 0.6 per cent higher on the day at $US7,150 per metric ton. Aluminium closed 0.2 per cent higher at $US1,745.50 per ton.

The Australian dollar is higher as the prospect of a stable interest rate outlook helps investors shrug off last week's disappointing jobs figures. As at 0700 AEDT on Monday, the local unit was trading at 90.53 US cents, up from 89.92 cents on Friday.

The currency fell to 89.07 US cents on Thursday after it was reported that the unemployment rate in January had hit six per cent for the first time in over 10 years.

Ahead in Australia, car sales data is released and in the US, markets are closed for the President�s Day holiday.

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