SCOREBOARD: Cliff celebrations

US and European markets rose strongly overnight as investors cheered yesterday's successful budget vote in the US House.

Meanwhile, the US ISM manufacturing index rose from 49.5 to 50.7 in December (consensus 50.3 per cent). US construction spending fell by 0.3 per cent in November (consensus 0.6 per cent). And weekly chain store sales in the US rose 0.1 per cent, according to Redbook Research, to stand 2.9 per cent higher than a year ago.

In European data, the French Purchasing Managers index rose from 44.5 to a four-month high of 44.6 in December. But the German PMI eased from 46.8 to 46.0 in December.

Elsewhere, world crude oil prices rose on hopes of stronger global growth after the successful passing of US legislation. Firmer US economic data supported oil prices although partially offset by mixed European manufacturing figures. Brent crude rose by $US1.33 or 1.2 per cent to $US112.44 and Nymex crude rose by $US1.30 to $US93.12 a barrel.

Base metal prices posted solid gains between 2.9 to 4.5 per cent on the London Metals Exchange on Wednesday on the successful passing of US budget legislation. The gold price also rose in line with other commodities with the Comex gold futures price up by $13.00 or 0.8 per cent to $US1,688.80 per ounce. And the spot iron ore price was unchanged at $US144.90 a tonne.

Today brings auto sales data in the US, as well as weekly jobless claims.

Craig James is CommSec's chief economist. Adam Carr is on leave, returning January 7. See Business Spectator's glossary for definitions of technical terms used in SCOREBOARD articles.



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