CMC Markets Weekly Report

U.S. stocks gained on Friday, lifting the S&P 500 to a record finish following a better-than-expected report on the sale of new homes in April.

U.S. stocks gained on Friday, lifting the S&P 500 to a record finish following a better-than-expected report on the sale of new homes in April.

New home sales rose by 6.4 per cent to a 433,000 annual pace in April, well above the expected 425,000 and provided the market the boost it needed to finish in positive territory for the week.

Rising 0.4 per cent to close at 16,606.27, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 63.19 points. Advancing to a session high of 1,901.26, the S&P500 ended up 8.04 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 1,900.53 and the Nasdaq rose 31.47 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,185.81.

Volume was slim Friday with many traders breaking early ahead of the three-day holiday weekend, with Wall Street closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

In commodity markets, World oil prices slipped as dealers took profits from the previous day's gains. In New York, the US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, fell 33 cents to $US103.74 per barrel. Brent North Sea crude for July delivery dropped 19 cents to $US110.36 in London trade. WTI jumped to a one-month peak at $104.07, while Brent struck a two-and-a-half-month high at $110.55.

Gold rose 0.5 per cent to $US1,295 an ounce.

Copper prices rose after data from China, showed the country's economy may already be getting a boost from last month's government stimulus. Copper for July delivery, the most active contract, ended 1.9 cents, or 0.6 per cent, higher at $US3.1420 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Australian dollar has drifted lower against a stronger greenback amid an improving US economic outlook. At 0700 AEST on Monday, the local currency was trading at 92.36 US cents, down from 92.41 cents on Friday.

At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 12.9 points, or 0.24 per cent, higher at 5,492.8 and the broader All Ordinaries index was up 12.2 points, or 0.22 per cent, to close the week at 5,470.3.

In local markets, no major economic data is expected today whilst in the US, markets are closed for the Memorial Day holiday and the UK is closed for the Spring Bank holiday.

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