In US economic data, the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing index eased from 10.5 to 4.1 in December.
European shares rose on Monday despite new uncertainty in Greece. The Greek sharemarket fell by 3.9 per cent after parliament rejected the government's candidate for president, prompting the Prime Minister to call fresh elections for January. But while southern European bourses softened, the FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.2 per cent, the German Dax edged 0.1 per cent higher, while the UK FTSE rose by 0.4 per cent. In London trade shares in BHP Billiton gained 2.8 per cent while Rio Tinto rose by 2.7 per cent.
US sharemarkets were flat in thin trade ahead of the end of the month, quarter and year. Stocks in the auto and retail sector were strongest, in response to a lower oil price. At the close of trade, the Dow Jones was down by 15.5 points or 0.1 per cent after trading in a tight 52-point range. The S&P 500 index was up by 0.1 per cent and the Nasdaq was up by less than 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent.
US treasuries rose on Monday (yields lower) as the announcement of new elections in Greece created uncertainty, causing some buying of safe-haven government bonds. US 2-year yields fell by 4pts to 0.712 per cent while US 10-year yields also fell by 5 points to 2.209 per cent.
Major currencies fell against the greenback in European and US trade on Monday. The euro eased from highs of $US1.2215 to lows near $US1.2140, and was around $US1.2150 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar rose from lows near US81.30c to around US81.60c but was trading lower back near US81.30c in late US trade. And the Japanese yen eased from 120.17 yen per US dollar to JPY120.72 and was near the weakest levels in late US trade.
World oil prices continued to slide on Monday, erasing gains made earlier in the session. Reuters reported that prices rose early on concerns about fighting in Libya causing the shutdown of two of the country's two largest ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. "But prices retreated as investors concluded that disruptions in Libya will not remove much supply from the global market." Brent crude fell by $US1.57 or 2.6 per cent to $US57.88 a barrel while the US Nymex crude price fell by $US1.12 or 2.0 per cent to $US53.61 a barrel.
Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange on Monday. Tin rose 1.2 per cent, copper rose 0.2 per cent but other prices fell up to 1.9 per cent with nickel leading the declines. Gold fell on Monday with the Comex gold futures price down by $US13.40 an ounce or 1.1 per cent to $US1,181.90 per ounce.Iron ore rose by US$1.20 to US$67.90 a tonne on Monday.
Ahead: In Australia no economic data is released. In the US, data on weekly chain store sales is released with home prices, consumer confidence and the Dallas Federal Reserve services index.