International markets were little changed on Friday night with no major index moving more than 0.5%.
In Europe the FTSE shed 20 points (-0.36%) to settle at 5911, whilst the CAC added just one point and the DAX shed 0.3%.
Stateside, the Dow Jones slipped three points to settle at 12978 whilst the S&P 500 shed 0.3% and the Nasdaq dropped 0.4%.
A New York manufacturing index rose from 536.5 to 543.1 in February while the weekly Economic Research Institute index rose from 123.2 to a near seven-month high of 124.2.
The Aussie dollar is holding firm around US$1.074 whilst on Friday night the euro fell against most of its major counterparts after a liquidity injection by the ECB failed to convince investors that the region’s crisis is abating.
Oil shed 1.9% to US$106.70 a barrel after Saudi Arabia confirmed that there had been no attacks on oil pipelines in the Kingdom. Reports of a pipeline explosion had pushed oil prices higher in the previous session.
Base metals were mixed; lead rose 1.0% and zinc rose 0.7% but other metals fell up to 1.1%.
Gold fell by 0.7% to US$1,709.80 an ounce. For the week bullion shed US$66.60 (-3.7%) an ounce.
Asciano (3.5c), Boral (7.5c), Brambles (13c), Challenger (7.5c), Iluka (55c), Monadelphous (50c), OneSteel (3c), QBE, (25c), Ramsay (25.5c), Toll (11.5c) and Worley (40c) go ex dividend today.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the Melbourne Institute Inflation gauge (10:30am, AEDT), ANZ job advertisements and company operating profits (11:30am, AEDT).