It was a mixed night for international markets on Friday night, with modest gains in Europe offset by weakness in America.
In London, the UK’s FTSE 100 advanced 32 points (+0.6%) to settle at 5576, whilst the French CAC (-0.1%) was weaker and the German DAX (1%) put in a strong performance.
Stateside, the Dow Jones shed 34 points (-0.3%) to settle at 12820, whilst the broader S&P (-0.3%) endured a similar decline and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed flat.
The Aussie dollar slipped lower and is trading back towards parity with the greenback, whilst the euro fell against the US dollar for a second week, reaching a three-month low, as concern mounted that politicians in Greece won’t be able to form a coalition government and the nation may exit the monetary union.
Gold traders are the least bullish in five weeks after the metal erased almost all of this year’s gains, as political turmoil in Europe and mounting optimism about the US economy drives investors to favour the greenback.
Oil dropped to a 2012 low after China’s industrial growth unexpectedly slowed in April and concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen, reducing fuel consumption.
Crude for June delivery fell 95 cents to US$96.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Dec. 19. Prices slipped 2.4% last week and are down 2.7% this year.
In company news, Incitec Pivot announced a 1H FY12 profit of $143.5 million, a 20% fall from the previous corresponding half.
Today’s session will bring us the latest home loans data, at 11:30am, AEST. We will also hear from Deputy RBA Governor Lowe, from 12:25pm, AEST.