U.S. stocks etched slight gains on Monday, with benchmark indexes again closing at records, as investors pondered the strength of the economy and policy moves by the Federal Reserve. In economic news, the employment trends index rose from 117.32 to 118.58 in May. Data showed a 217,000 lift in employment in May with the unemployment rate stable at 6.3 per cent.
The ECB on Thursday rolled out sub-zero interest rates and other anti-inflation measures in a move to boost the economy of the 18-nation euro zone. The U.S. Federal Reserve, however, has been reducing its monthly bond purchases otherwise known as quantitative easing, and expects to be finished altogether this fall.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.82 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16.943.10, an all-time closing high. The S&P500 added 1.83 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,951.27 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 14.84 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,336.24.
In commodity markets, Oil prices rallied sharply, with the US benchmark hitting a three month high, after positive Chinese, Japanese and US economic data raised expectations for more energy demand. West Texas Intermediate for July delivery leaped $US1.75 to close Monday at $US104.41 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude in July, settled at $US109.99 a barrel.
Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, settled up $US1.40, or 0.1 per cent, at $US1,253.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Aluminium prices hit a nearly 10 month high following reports indicating an improvement in the US economy. Aluminium for delivery in three months ended 1.7 per cent higher at $US1,911 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest price since August.
Zinc prices also rose 1.3 per cent to $US2,131 a ton, while nickel prices inched 0.2 per cent higher to $US18,905 per ton.
Copper was the only one to buck the trend, Copper prices for July delivery ended down 0.3 per cent at $US3.0435 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Australian dollar is higher, at 0700 AEST on Tuesday, the local unit was trading at 93.55 US cents, up from 93.37 cents on Friday.
In economic news today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases housing finance data for April. ANZ publishes its job advertisements series for May and National Australia Bank releases its monthly business survey for May.
The market was closed on Monday for the Queen's Birthday public holiday.
On Friday the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 27.1 points to 5,464 and the broader All Ordinaries index gained 23.8 points to 5,443.5
In the US, wholesale sales and inventories data is released.