International markets pulled back on Friday night, with traders and investors booking profits ahead of the long weekend in the US – markets will be closed tonight for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
In Europe the FTSE shed 26 points (-0.5%) to settle at 5637, whilst the CAC (-0.1%) and DAX (-0.6%) also lost ground.
Stateside, the Dow gave up 49 points (-0.4%) to settle at 12422, whilst the S&P and tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.5% each.
The US trade deficit widened from US$43.5 billion to US$47.5 billion in November – above forecasts of a US$45bn deficit, whilst consumer confidence rose from 69.9 to an 8-month high of 74.0, above forecasts.
The Aussie dollar lost ground on Friday night and will open around US$1.03 this morning, whilst the euro weakened for a second consecutive session, reaching an 11-year low against the yen after S&P stripped France of its top credit rating.
Oil was weaker, shedding 0.4% to US$99.03 a barrel. Base metals eased slightly in response to a firmer US dollar. Gold fell 1% to US$1,643 an ounce.
In company news, Leighton Holdings says it expects to report a first half underlying profit of $270 million, higher than previous estimates of a $250 million result.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the Melbourne Institute inflation gauge (10:30am, AEDT), ANZ job ads and home loans, (11:30am, AEDT).