Scoreboard: Earnings spotlight

The local market is tipped to open slightly higher despite neutral overseas leads, while earnings season moves up a gear.

In US economic data, producer prices rose by 0.1 per cent in July with the core rate (excludes food and energy) up 0.2 per cent. Both results were in line with forecasts. Production rose 0.4 per cent in July, just above forecasts. And consumer sentiment eased from 81.8 to 79.2 in August, well below expectations of a 82.5 result and the lowest result since November 2013.

European shares fell on Friday as investors responded to news that Ukraine forces had engaged a Russian-armoured column in Ukraine territory. The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by 0.5 per cent with the German Dax down by 1.4 per cent. But the UK FTSE edged higher by 0.1 per cent. Australia's major miners rose in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton up by 1.2 per cent while Rio Tinto lifted by 0.9 per cent.

US sharemarkets ended mixed on Friday. Economic data was mixed while news from Ukraine unsettled investors. But shares in chip-maker Applied Materials rose by 6.3 per cent in response to latest earnings data. The Dow Jones index lost 50 points or 0.3 per cent with the S&P 500 index down by less than 0.1 per cent while the Nasdaq actually gained almost 12 points or 0.3 per cent. Over the week the Dow gained 0.7 per cent while the S&P 500 lifted by 1.2 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 2.7 per cent.

US treasury prices rose on Friday (yields lower) with mixed economic data and geopolitical concerns causing investors to embrace safe-haven assets. US 2-year yields fell by 1 point to 0.411 per cent while US 10-year yields were down by 7 points to 2.34 per cent. Over the week US 2-year yields fell by 4.5 points while US 10-year yields fell by 9.5 points.

Major currencies ended mixed against the US dollar after European and US sessions on Friday. The euro rose from lows near $US1.3360 to around $US1.3410, before ending US trade near $US1.3395. The Australian dollar eased from highs near US93.35c to lows near US92.95c before ending the US session close to US93.20c. And the Japanese yen rose from 102.70 yen per US dollar to JPY102.15, ending US trade near JPY102.34. The yen is near JPY102.22 this morning.

World oil prices rose on Friday on supply concerns after the news that Ukraine forces had engaged a Russian-armoured unit that had crossed into Ukraine territory. Brent crude rose by $US1.46 or 1.4 per cent to $US103.53 a barrel and the US Nymex price lifted by $US1.77 a barrel or 1.9 per cent to $US97.35 a barrel. Over the week Brent fell by $US1.49 a barrel or 1.4 per cent while US Nymex lost US30c.

Base metal prices rose by up to 0.8 per cent on Friday with copper and lead up the most. But nickel lost 0.1 per cent. Over the week, base metal prices were mixed with copper down 1.7 per cent but nickel rose by 0.6 per cent. Gold prices fell on Friday with the Comex gold futures quote down by $US9.50 or 0.7 per cent to $US1306.20 per ounce. Over the week gold fell by $US4.80 an ounce. Iron ore was unchanged on Friday at $US93.20 a tonne. But over the week iron ore fell by $US2.50.

Ahead: Aussie shares are expected to open 10 points higher, supported by higher oil and base metal prices and a flat finish for the broader US S&P500 index.

Data on car sales is released. NAB releases its quarterly trading update. In the US, the NAHB Housing Market index is released.

Craig James is the chief economist at Commsec.

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