Most Asian equity markets are trading with gains following on from the positive close in the US, where markets were supported by positive earnings and touted bargain hunting. The ASX 200 trades with gains and pierced the psychologically important 5,000 level, providing buyers with relief after the previous large 2-day decline. The Nikkei 225 trended higher from the open, supported by a weaker JPY. The KOSPI pared early gains and was pressured following reports that North Korea rejected South Korean business owners' request to visit the Gaeseong industrial zone which is a joint economic development between the two countries. The Hang Seng pared most of its opening gains, whilst the Shanghai Comp. traded in the red from the open.
In the FX markets, JPY weakened with USD/JPY rallying above the 98.00 handle. NZD was immediately pressured following the release of lower than expected Q1 consumer prices which came in at 0.4% vs. Exp. 0.5% Q/Q, whilst the Y/Y reading came in at the expected 0.9%. The move lower in NZD/USD was pared shortly after, but the reading which is below the 1-3% RBNZ inflation target, adds further to the debate that the RBNZ has scope to cut rates.
Looking forward, Japanese consumer confidence is scheduled for release at 0600BST/0000CDT.
As of 0342BST:
ASX200 (+0.82%), Nikkei 225 (+1.01%), Shanghai Comp. (-0.30%), Hang Seng (+0.14%), KOSPI (-0.31%)
17 Apr 2013 - 03:44 - - Source: RANsquawk
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