In US economic data, the leading index rose by 0.2 per cent in August, short of forecasts tipping a 0.4 per cent gain. The weekly Economic Cycle Research Institute index was up 2.1 per cent on a year ago, up from 1.7 per cent in the previous week.
European shares rose on Friday after Scotland voted against independence. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.3 per cent, touching six-year highs in the session. The German Dax rose by less than 0.1 per cent while the UK FTSE rose by 0.3 per cent. But Australia's major miners were lower in London trade with shares in BHP Billiton down by 1.3 per cent while Rio Tinto lost 1.6 per cent.
US sharemarkets were mixed on Friday. Shares in Alibaba soared by 38 per cent on the IPO price to $US93.89 a share. But shares in Oracle fell by 4.2 per cent while Yahoo lost 2.7 per cent. The Dow Jones index rose by almost 14 points or 0.1 per cent. The broader S&P 500 index fell by 0.1 per cent while the Nasdaq lost almost 14 points or 0.3 per cent. Over the week the Dow Jones rose by 1.7 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.3 per cent while the Nasdaq edged higher by 0.3 per cent.
US long-term treasury prices rose on Friday (yields lower) as bargain hunters moved in, with investors analysing the timing of future moves to tighten monetary policy. US 2-year yields were flat at 0.569 per cent while US 10-year yields were down by 4 points to 2.578 per cent. Over the week US 2-year yields rose by 1.3 points while US 10-year yields fell by 2.5 points.
Major currencies were generally lower against the greenback over the European and US sessions on Friday. The US dollar index rose for the 10th straight week. The Euro fell from near $US1.2910 to around $US1.2930, ending US trade near the day's lows. The Australian dollar fell from highs near US89.95c to lows around US89.20c before ending the US session near the lows. And the Japanese yen held between ¥108.57 per US dollar and ¥109.24, ending US trade near ¥109.01. The Australian is near US89.35c this morning with the Japanese yen at ¥109.10.
World oil prices were mixed on Friday. Plentiful world oil supplies of crude and upcoming contract expiry weighed on the Nymex crude price. But talk of a cut-back of oil production by OPEC members supported Brent crude. On Friday Brent crude rose by US69c or 0.7 per cent to $US98.39 a barrel with the US Nymex price down by US66c a barrel or 0.7 per cent to $US92.41 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose by $US1.28 or 1.3 per cent with the Nymex price up by US14c or 0.2 per cent.
Base metal prices were mixed on Friday with gains and losses not exceeding 0.7 per cent. Over the week metal prices fell up to 3.4 per cent, led by nickel. But copper bucked the trend, up 0.3 per cent. Gold prices fell to a nine-month low on Friday with the Comex gold futures quote lower by $US7.80 an ounce or 0.6 per cent to $US1,219.10 per ounce. Over the week gold fell by $US12.10 an ounce or 1.0 per cent. Iron ore fell by $US1.30 or 1.6 per cent on Friday to $US81.70 a tonne. Over the week iron ore fell by US30c a tonne.
Ahead: It should be a mixed start for our sharemarket after US and European sharemarkets rose, base metal and oil prices were mixed, and gold and iron ore prices fell. In Australia, the CBA Business Sales index is released. In the US, data on existing home sales is released with the National Activity index.
Craig James is chief economist at Commsec.