Howd’y USA

In US economic data, consumer prices fell 0.1% as expected in December to be up 1.9% over the year. Core prices (excluding food and energy) rose 0.2% as expected in the month to be up 2.2% over the year.

US share markets ended flat on Friday as investors squared positions ahead of the start of earnings (profit-reporting) season.  Shares in General Motors rose 7.05% after delivering a strong earnings forecast for 2019. Shares in Netflix rose 4% with Reuters citing "analysts' optimistic forecasts for subscriber growth". The energy sector fell in response to a lower oil price. The Dow Jones fell by 6 points or less than 0.1%, after trading in a range of almost 200 points. The S&P500 index was down less than 1 point. The Nasdaq index was lower by 15 points or 0.2%. Over the week the Dow rose by 2.4%, the S&P 500 rose by 2.5% and the Nasdaq rose by 3.5%.

US treasuries were firmer on Friday (yields lower) in response to benign inflation data and end-week position squaring. The UK Parliament vote on Brexit is held on Tuesday. US 2-year yields fell by 2 points to 2.54% and US 10-year yields fell by 3 points to 2.70%. Over the week US 2-year yields rose by 6 points and US 10-year yields rose by 4 points. 

Major currencies were generally weaker against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro eased from US$1.1535 to US$1.1455 and was near US$1.1465 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar eased from US72.35 cents to US71.85 cents and was near US72.20 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen eased from 108.15 yen per US dollar to JPY108.56 and was near the weakest levels in late US trade.

In the US, Citigroup releases earnings results.  

Bonjour, Europe

European share markets ended mixed on Friday. The pan-European STOXX600 index rose by 0.1% but the UK FTSE fell by 0.4% and the German Dax index lost 0.3%. UK home builders rose in response to a broker upgrade. But energy stocks fell in response to lower oil prices. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto fell by 0.4% with shares in BHP lower by 0.3%.

Top of the morning, London

Global oil prices fell by 1.9% on Friday, snapping a 9-day winning streak. Investors took profits after solid gains over the past fortnight. The number of oil rigs in operation in the US fell by 4 to 873 last week. Brent crude fell by US$1.20 or 2% to US$60.48 a barrel and the US Nymex price fell by US$1.00 or 1.9% to US$51.59 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose by 6% and Nymex rose by 3.3%. 

Base metal prices rose by up to 2% on the London Metal Exchange with nickel up the most. But aluminium fell by 1.5% while copper rose only 0.2%. Over the week metals were mixed. Aluminium fell 3% and zinc fell 0.5% but tin rose 4.1% and nickel rose by 3.4%. 

The gold futures price rose by US$2.10 an ounce or 0.2% to $1,289.50 an ounce. The spot gold price was trading near US$1,287 an ounce in late US tradeOver the week gold rose by US$3.70 or 0.3%. Iron ore rose by US5 cents or 0.1% to US$74.70 a tonne. Over the week, iron ore rose by US$1.25 or 1.7%. 

G’day Australia

Credit & debit card lending data is released. In China, trade and money supply data is released.