Heading towards the mid-point of the trading day, most of Asian equity markets are nursing losses, taking their cues from underperformance seen in both European and US equity markets. The Nikkei 225 has been the biggest laggard as participants take profits following four consecutive days of gains. Meanwhile, JPY is continuing to strengthen across the board amid comments from Japanese ruling party LDP Secretary-General saying that the weaker JPY may be worrisome for some industries and firms. His comments came ahead of next week’s BoJ monetary policy meeting.
Over in Australia, the ASX 200 is firmly trading in positive territory, paring all the losses yesterday. The local index is led by Construction & Materials sector where Leighton Holdings gained 1.22% after the Australian Financial Review reported that Hong Kong’s PCCW ltd has emerged as a potential contender for Co.’s telecommunications infrastructure assets. Tier 2 data releases like Westpac Consumer Confidence and New Motor vehicle sales continue to suggest a better than previous domestic outlook, and markets will gauge the forthcoming employment rate tomorrow as a key factor driving near term policy expectations for the RBA.
In terms of data, today’s highlight was Chinese actual FDI for December, printing at -4.5%, lower than expectations at -2.0%. This release declined for the first full year since 2009 as overseas manufacturers relocated to cheap labour markets elsewhere. However, market participants are likely to concentrate on the upcoming Chinese data, including Q4 GDP and December Retail Sales on Friday.
Looking forward, Japanese consumer confidence for December is scheduled to be released at 0500GMT/2300CST.
As of 0248 GMT:
ASX200 (+0.40%), Nikkei 225 (-1.52%), Shanghai Comp. (-0.10 %), Hang Seng (-0.18%), KOSPI (+0.34%)
16 Jan 2013 - 02:49 - - Source: RANsquawk
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