Asian equity markets trade mixed heading into the midpoint of the first trading session of the week. The ASX 200 swung from gains and losses to trade in minor negative territory with St Barbara shares notably underperforming, weighed by declines in gold prices. Japanese markets trended higher from the open with the Nikkei 225 closing morning trade with firm gains, supported by a weaker JPY as USD/JPY briefly pierced the 102.00 handle. Mitsubishi Materials and Panasonic are among the notable gainers with Mitsubishi shares gaining over 17% after their net and operating profit forecasts beat estimates, whilst Panasonic shares have gained over 8% after the company forecasted a return to profit for FY 13. Chinese markets are the laggards in early trade with the Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. both declining from the open.
In the FX markets, USD/JPY trended higher from the open to briefly pierce above the 102.00 handle before it met resistance and reversed. AUD was initially supported following the release of better than expected Australian Home Loans which printed 5.2% vs. 4.0%. However, the move higher in AUD/USD was immediately pared and AUD currently trades below parity to USD. Elsewhere, USD strength prevailed in early trade which also saw declines in gold prices and US T-notes opening lower, amid reports from Fed watcher Hilsenrath that Fed officials have mapped out a strategy to wind down the USD 85bln per month bond-buying program.
Looking forward, Chinese Industrial Production and Retail Sales are scheduled for release at 0630BST/0030CDT.
As of 0338BST:
ASX 200 (-0.31%), Nikkei 225 (+1.55%), Shanghai Comp. (-0.36%), Hang Seng (-0.86%), KOSPI (-0.02%)
13 May 2013 - 10:40 - Forex - Source: RANsquawk
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