U.S. markets regained their footing on Friday night, closing out the week with a solid gain amid positive economic data.
The ISM Purchasing Managers Index revealed manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in October and the highest rate since April 2011.
The data defied expectations of a hit to growth from the recent budget drama, and spurred the Dow and S&P500 to a fourth consecutive weekly gain.
The Dow finished up 70 points (+0.5%) to 15616, the S&P500 climbed five points (+0.3%) to 1762 and the Nasdaq rose two points (+0.1%) to 3922.
There was a sea of red in commodity markets. Oil dived 1.9% to US$94.61 a barrel and tallied a whopping six percent plunge for the month of October.
The positive ISM result did little to support crude, which has been battered by surging US stockpiles and concerns over faltering energy demand.
Elsewhere, gold declined 0.8% to U$1313 an ounce, ending a nightmare week that saw it tumble close to three percent.
Bullion weakness coincided with a rebound in the greenback.
The U.S. dollar jumped 0.7% versus the euro following the week’s Fed statement, which alluded to a December start date for stimulus tapering. The shared currency faced added pressure from recent data showing weak inflation in the eurozone, stoking bets of another ECB rate cut.
In company news, Westpac has reported an 8% rise in FY13 cash profit to a record $7.1 billion, slightly beating market expectations. In a bonus for shareholders, the bank declared a special dividend of 10 cents, in addition to a final dividend of 88 cents a share.
In economic news, retail sales, the ANZ Job Ads survey and the House Price Index are all due for release at 11:30am, AEDT.