Trade on global markets was muted overnight, with stocks in the United States easing from their record highs as investors cashed in after a long run-up of gains.

On Wall Street, sentiment was boosted by figures showing there was an unexpected rise in retail sales in April.

It was the latest piece of data to suggest there us some momentum in the US economic recovery.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2 per cent to close at 15,092, the S&P 500 index closed unchanged at 1,634, and the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up by two points, to 3,439.

In Europe, the major indices also finished mostly flat.

The FTSE 100 in London did manage to eke out some gains to reach another five-year high, despite steep losses among banking stocks.

It added seven points to close at 6,632.

The DAX in Germany also finished flat, rising by one point to close at 8,279.

Futures trade is suggesting there will be some moderate gains at the start of the Australian session, reflecting the flat results on both sides of the Atlantic.

The ASX SPI 200 index was up 16 points at 5,222.

In commodity trade, gold and oil prices have taken a hit as the US dollar continues to strengthen - the spot price of gold has dropped to $US1,431 an ounce.

West Texas Crude oil also was lower, at $US94.75 a barrel.

In currency trade the Australian dollar continues to fall against most of its major counterparts; at 7:50am (AEDT) it was buying 99.5 U-S cents, 76.7 euro cents, 101.4 Japanese yen, 65.1 British pence and just under $NZ1.21.

 

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