US markets logged further declines on Friday night, with the Dow suffering its worst week for the year.
The blue chip index slumped 2.2% over the five sessions, its biggest weekly percentage loss since May 2012. The losses came amid weak economic data and uncertainty over the Fed’s timetable for ending stimulus.
The night’s key economic news was US consumer sentiment falling more than expected in August as Americans begin to feel the pinch of rising interest rates. The Dow shed 31 points (-0.2%), closing at 15081, the S&P500 lost 0.3% to close at 1656 and the Nasdaq fell 0.1% to settle at 3603.
European markets fared a lot better after data revealed eurozone exports increased for the first time in three months, led by a rebound in Germany
There were modest gains in commodity markets, with gold and silver continuing to be supported by safe haven demand.
Gold for December delivery added 0.7% to US$1371 an ounce whilst silver for September delivery jumped 1.7% to US$23.32 an ounce. Silver enjoyed a standout week, leaping 14% for its best weekly performance in almost five years.
In currency markets, the US dollar was stronger against most other currencies as traders positioned for a likely tapering of the Fed’s stimulus program.
In company news, Amcor has reported a 46% surge in FY13 net profit to $600.6 million. It also flagged stronger earnings in FY14.On the economic front, Australian new vehicle sales data is set for release at 11:30am, AEST.