In US economic data, the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing index fell from 3.5 to minus 4.4 in January.
European shares rose for the eighth day on Monday with investors largely shrugging off the win by the Syriza party in Greek elections. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.6 per cent to seven-year highs although Greek shares fell by 3.2 per cent. The German Dax rose by 1.4 per cent to record highs and the UK FTSE lifted by 0.3 per cent. Mining shares rose in London trade in response to higher metal prices with BHP Billiton up by 0.5 per cent while Rio Tinto rose by 0.2 per cent.
US sharemarkets fell at the start of trade but quickly rebounded to be mixed in afternoon trade. Trading volumes were weak in New York ahead of a major blizzard that will clear all traffic from roads except emergency vehicles. With an hour of trade to go, the Dow Jones was down by 20 points or 0.1 per cent with the S&P 500 index up 0.1 per cent and the Nasdaq was up by 3 points or 0.1 per cent.
US long-term treasury yields were modestly weaker (yields higher) on Monday. Traders were dissecting the Greek election result and were awaiting the Federal Reserve meeting. US two-year yields rose by 3 points to 0.527 per cent while US 10-year yields were up by 3 points to 1.832 per cent.
The euro and commodity currencies rose against the greenback in European and US trade on Monday. The euro rose from lows near $US1.1170 to highs near $US1.1290 and was near $US1.1265 in afternoon US trade. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US78.85c to highs around US79.35c and was near US79.15c at the US close. But the Japanese yen eased from 117.56 yen per US dollar to ¥118.58 and was near ¥118.45 at the end of the US session.
World oil prices eased on Monday. Saudi Arabia's King Salman pledged to follow the existing oil policy. And investors also digested news of the Greek election result and an impending blizzard to hit the US north-east. OPEC's secretary general said "Now the prices are around $45-$50 and I think maybe they reached the bottom and will see some rebound very soon." The Brent crude price fell by US63c or 1.3 per cent to $US48.16 a barrel while the US Nymex crude price fell by US44c or 1.0 per cent to $US45.15 a barrel.
Base metal prices rose between 0.6-2.9 per cent on Monday, largely reversing Friday's losses. Aluminium rose by 2.9 per cent and nickel rose by 2.8 per cent. Gold fell for a second day as fears related to the Greek election result eased. The Comex gold futures price fell by $US13.20 an ounce or 1.0 per cent to $US1,279.40 per ounce. Iron ore fell by $US2.60 or 4.1 per cent on Monday or to $US63.30 a tonne.
Ahead: In Australia, the NAB business survey is released with the weekly consumer confidence index. In the US, data on weekly chain store sales, new home sales, durable goods orders, home prices and consumer confidence are released on Tuesday with the Richmond Federal Reserve index. The Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting
Craig James is chief economist with CommSec.