Scoreboard: Golden opportunity

Higher gold and oil prices should deliver a welcome booster to the local sharemarket, though gains could be tempered as Westpac goes ex-dividend.

In Australia, the futures market is tipping a three-point fall at the start of trade, but we expect a gain of 10-15 points following gains in oil and gold prices in the US on Friday. Chinese trade figures on Saturday were also better than expected, while Westpac may restrain gains as it goes ex-dividend.

In the US, non-farm payrolls (employment) rose by 214,000 in October, short of forecasts tipping a 231,000 gain. Unemployment fell to a six-year low of 5.8 per cent. Average earnings rose by 0.1 per cent. The labour force participation rate rose from 62.7 per cent to 62.8 per cent.

In China the trade surplus rose from $US31 billion to $US45.4bn in October. Exports were up 11.6 per cent over the year with imports up 4.6 per cent.

European shares were mixed on Friday as traders dissected US economic data, corporate earnings, French lending figures and increased tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Shares in ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, gained 2.3 per cent after reporting a higher-than-expected profit in the third quarter. The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by 0.5 per cent, the UK FTSE gained 0.3 per cent but the German Dax lost 0.9 per cent. In London trade shares in BHP Billiton were up by 2.9 per cent with Rio Tinto up by 2.4 per cent.

The US Dow Jones index and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Friday. Investors digested the landscape after the mid-term election results. Investors also digested the implications of the latest economic data -- suggesting the Federal Reserve was in no rush to lift rates. Healthcare stocks fell most, while the energy sector lifted on higher oil prices. The Dow Jones ended trade up by 19.5 points or 0.1 per cent. The S&P 500 index was up by less than 0.1 per cent. The Nasdaq fell by 5.9 points or 0.1 per cent. Over the week, the Dow Jones index rose by 1.1 per cent while the S&P 500 gained 0.7 per cent while the Nasdaq rose by less than 0.1 per cent.

US long-term treasury prices rose on Friday (yields lower) after employment figures fell short of expectations with earnings growth also disappointing. US two-year yields fell by 6 points to 0.50 per cent while US 10-year yields were down 8 points to 2.30 per cent. Over the week US two-year yields fell by 2 points and US 10-year yields fell by 4.5 points.

Major currencies were stronger against the US dollar in European and US trade on Friday. The Euro rose from lows near $US1.2360 to highs near $US1.2465, and was near $US1.2450 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US85.40c to US86.50c, and was near US86.30c in late US trade. The Japanese yen strengthened from 115.46 yen per US dollar to ¥114.25 and was near ¥114.53 in late US trade.

World oil prices lifted from multi-year lows on Friday. Brent crude rose by US53c, or 0.6 per cent, to $US83.39 a barrel. US Nymex crude price rose by US74c, or 0.9 per cent, to $US78.65 a barrel. Over the week Brent fell by $US2.47, or 2.9 per cent. US Nymex lost $US1.89, or 2.3 per cent, the 6th straight decline and the longest losing streak in 16 years.

Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange on Friday. Aluminium lost 1.1 per cent and nickel fell 0.5 per cent but other metals rose up to 1.3 per cent. Over the week zinc lost 3.2 per cent and nickel fell 2.2 per cent but other metals rose up to 2.9 per cent. Gold rebounded from 4-year lows on Friday as the US dollar eased. Comex gold futures rose by $US27.20 an ounce or 2.4 per cent to $US1,169.80 per ounce. Over the week, gold lost $US1.80. Iron ore fell by US10c on Friday or 0.1 per cent to a five-year low of $US75.50 a tonne and fell $US3.00 over the week.

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