Negative sentiment is present in the Asian markets with the majority of Asian indices trading in the red, following the large declines seen in yesterday’s trade. The Nikkei 225 has been one of the worst performers so far, weighed by a slightly stronger JPY. In individual stocks, Alps Electric (-5.31%) is the biggest laggard following a cut to neutral at Credit Suisse. On the other end of the spectrum, Tosah (+5.56%) has seen the most percentage gains after news that the company has developed materials that prevent lithium ion batteries from catching fire. The ASX 200 is currently the best performer, returning above the 5,000 level and paring some of yesterday’s losses. The Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. are both in the red at early trade.
In the FX markets, AUD strengthened after RBA Governor Stevens said rates are low, time is needed for policy to do its work and that the appropriate rate is the current low one Australia has. Stevens also included further comments which were suggestive of a positive outlook for the Australian economy and that imply rates will be kept on hold for the time being, causing AUD/USD to move higher by over 50 pips. However, AUD/USD retraced nearly half the gains 2 hours later, after Stevens commented it is fair to say easing is more likely. USD/SGD pared gains seen in the US session, supported by a better than expected Singapore GDP (Q4 F) Y/Y 1.5% vs. Exp. 1.2%. USD/JPY is trading around 93.10 after failing to break above the 93.35 level. As a reminder, Japan PM Abe is visiting the US to meet President Obama and is expected to nominate the candidate for the BoJ Governor role after he returns.
Looking forward, the economic release calendar is relatively light, with a lack of tier one releases scheduled. However, LTRO repayments are scheduled for the EU session, and the Italian election result are scheduled over the weekend.
As of 0217GMT:
ASX200 (+1.11%), Nikkei 225 (-0.87%), Shanghai Comp. (-0.21%), Hang Seng (-0.40%), KOSPI (+0.41 %)
21 Feb 2013 - 20:22 - Equities - Source: RANsquawk
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