Scoreboard: Consumer close-up

Investors will eyeball lending finance and credit card data to better understand the public’s mindset, while the Australian dollar is trading softer this morning.

In US economic data, the Federal Budget was in surplus by $US71 billion in June, below forecasts of an $US80 billion surplus. The weekly Economic Cycle Research Institute lending index was up 4.4 per cent on a year ago, up from 4.3 per cent in the previous week.

European shares rose on Friday as investors became more confident that the woes at Portugal's Espirito Santo Financial Group wouldn't have broader implications for European banks. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.2 per cent with the German Dax higher by 0.1 per cent while the UK FTSE gained 0.3 per cent. Australia's major miners were mixed in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton up by 0.5 per cent while Rio Tinto lost 0.3 per cent.

US sharemarkets posted modest gains on Friday. Worries about the health of Portugal's banks eased while investors digested earnings from Wells Fargo. Shares in Wells Fargo fell by 0.6 per cent after posting its earnings result. Shares in oil companies fell after a big drop in the oil price. The Dow Jones finished trade up by almost 29 points or 0.2 per cent with the S&P 500 index also higher by 0.2 per cent while the Nasdaq lifted 19 points or 0.4 per cent. Over the week the Dow Jones eased by 0.7 per cent while the S&P 500 lost 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.6 per cent. 

US treasury prices rose slightly on Friday (yields lower). While sharemarkets lifted as concerns about European banks receded, lower oil prices indicated that inflation rates would remain modest across advanced economies. US 2-year yields fell by 2 points to 0.45 per cent while US 10-year yields fell by 2 points to 2.52 per cent. Over the week US 2 year yields fell by 6 points while US 10-year yields fell by 9 points.

Major currencies softened modestly against the US dollar in the European and US sessions on Friday. The euro fell from highs near $US1.3625 to lows near $US1.3590, closing US trade near $US1.3605. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US94.05c to lows near US93.75c before ending the US session near US93.90c. And the Japanese yen eased from 101.23 yen per US dollar to JPY101.38, ending US trade near JPY101.36. The Aussie dollar is softer at US93.75c this morning.

World oil prices slumped on Friday as worries about potential shortages of global oil supplies continued to recede. Brent crude lost $US2.01 or 1.8 per cent to $US106.66 a barrel and the US Nymex price fell by $US2.10 or 2.0 per cent to $US100.83 a barrel. Over the week Brent crude fell by 3.6 per cent while US Nymex crude lost 2.8 per cent. 

Base metal prices rose by up to 1.3 per cent on the London Metal Exchange on Friday with zinc leading the gains. But copper bucked the trend, falling by 0.1 per cent. Gold prices eased from three-month highs as worries about Portuguese banks receded. The Comex gold futures quote fell by $US1.80 or 0.1 per cent to $US1,337.40 per ounce. But over the week gold rose by $US16.40 an ounce. Iron ore was unchanged at $US96.90 a tonne on Friday and rose US40c on the week.

Ahead: In Australia, lending finance data and credit/debit card figures are released. In the US, no major economic data is released. Earnings are expected from Citigroup before the US session.