From Craig James, Commsec Chief Economist
MORNING REPORT (6am AEDT) - The US leading index rose by 0.9pct in October, well above the consensus estimate of an increase of 0.6pct.
Industry orders in Italy fell by 8.3pct in September after rising by 4.2pct in August and rising 1.2pct in July. German producer prices rose 0.2pct in October while the core rate fell 0.2pct - both weaker than expected.
European shares eased to six-week lows after the German Chancellor appeared to rule out support for the European Central Bank to act as lender of the last resort for euro zone countries. The FTSEurofirst index fell by 0.7pct on Friday to end 3.4pct lower over the week. The UK FTSE fell by 1.1pct and the German Dax lost 0.9pct.
US shares ended mixed in thin trade on Friday as investors weighed positive economic data with continuing uncertainty about the outlook for European economies. There was also a degree of pessimism that the ´´super-committee´´ will agree on deficit reducing measures before Thursday´s deadline. The Dow Jones rose by 25pts or 0.2pct with the S&P 500 down 0.5pt or less than 0.1pct and the Nasdaq eased 15.5pts or 0.6pct. Over the week the Dow Jones fell for only the second time in eight weeks, losing 2.9pct. The S&P 500 fell by 3.8pct while the Nasdaq lost 4.0pct.
US treasuries eased on Friday as traders squared positions at the end of the week. US 2yr yields rose by 1pt to 0.28pct and US 10yr yields rose by 4pts to 2.00pct. Over the week US 2yr yields rose by 4pts but US 10yr yields fell by 5pts.
Major currencies ended mixed after European and US trade on Friday. The Euro rose from lows near US$1.3465 to near US$1.3615 and ended US trade near US$1.3520. The Aussie dollar rose from lows around US99.60c to US101.05, and ended US trade at US100c. And the Japanese yen held between JPY76.55 yen per US dollar and JPY77.00, ending US trade near JPY76.90.
US crude oil prices fell in thin trade on Friday ahead of the expiry of the front-month contract. Nymex crude oil fell by US$1.41 or 1.4pct to US$97.41 a barrel and London Brent crude fell by US66c to US$107.56 a barrel. Over the week Nymex crude fell by 1.6pct while Brent fell by 5.8pct.
Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange on Friday. Lead, zinc and aluminium rose and other metals fell 0.2-2.8pct with nickel faring worst. Over the week base metals were mixed. Lead rose 3.4pct and zinc rose 2.2pct but other metals fell 1.6-2.9pct. And the gold price rose slightly on Friday on a combination of position-squaring and bargain hunting. The Comex December gold price was up by US$4.90 an ounce or 0.3pct to US$1,725.10. Over the week gold fell by US$63.00 or 3.5pct.
Ahead: In Australia, no major economic data is released. In the US, existing homes sales and the national activity index are released.