12 April 2013: Wall Street posts new record highs

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Asian shares retreated marginally Friday morning after recent gains. The Asia-Pacific, MSCI-index fell 0,3% due especially to the tense situation in the Korean peninsula. Investor’s confidence was underpinned by new record highs on Wall Street. Shares rose for the fourth day. A drop last week in the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits, gave markets a new boost. A 14% plunge in personal computer sales in first quarter, the sharpest drop in two years, could not spoil the good sentiment. USD/JPY continues to flirt with the 100 yen mark.

The Nikkei index helped by Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) efforts to fight deflation dropped 0,8% on profit taking. The Nikkei is up 10% over the last week and trades at its highest level since July 2008. The dollar has gained 6% towards the yen the last week and hit a 99,95 yen to dollar on Thursday, a level not seen in four years. Euro/Yen climbed to 131,10 and reached the highest level seen since 2010. Aussie dollar also soared towards the yen. USD/JPY fell back to 99,50 unable to break through the 100 mark.

In Europe the EU- Commission’s bleak forecast on the economic development inside the Euro zone did not affect the strength of the Euro. Euro/USD is steady around 1,31 – 1.3150. Slovenia with its struggling banking sector, was singled out as a candidate to be next in line for a bail-out after Cyprus. But the banking sectors Italy, Spain and also France remain in the danger zone. The guru investor, George Sorros, stated earlier in the week that he saw Eurobonds as the solution to Europe’s troubled economies and saw a possible German Euro exit as a viable alternative.

President Barack Obama’s latest proposal to solve the US budget crisis by trimming Social Security and other safety-net benefits have is off to a cold response. Republicans, Democrats and even the White House have distanced themselves from the proposal. The reactions illustrate the difficulty of reaching a bargain to reduce spending and tame the deficit. The Republicans said that the President’s offer did not go far enough to cut spending.

In Cyprus the Central Bank has been selling part of its gold reserves to raise around 400 million Euro to help finance part of its bailout, the European Commission announced on Wednesday. Cyprus has totally a reserve of 13,9 tons. 10,35 tons are set to be sold. The transaction had a negative impact on gold prices which following the Cypriot sales fell USD 20 dollar an ounce on Wednesday. The Cyprus Central Bank is selling gold at a time when other central banks are building up their gold reserves as security against monetary easing and big volatility in the currency markets. 

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