Asian stocks drifted on Monday as investors booked profits from a New Year rally pushed market to highs not seen in months. Financial stocks gained after global regulators relaxed draft plans for tougher banking liquidity rules. The Asian Pacific MSCI-index retreated 0,9 % on Friday and was flat today after reaching its highest level since August 2011. The Japanese Nikkei retreated after last week touching a 23-month high.
US jobless claims reported in line with expectations on Friday adding 155 000 new jobs. The unemployment rate is at 7,8 % indicating a slow, but steady recovery in the US economy which has propelled Wall Street stocks to a five year high. Minutes from the December meeting of the Federal Reserve, FED, released Thursday led to tumults in global, financial markets having riskier currencies and commodities to plunge. The USD index towards a basket of currencies rose to its highest level in week as the minutes were interpreted as FED is considering to end its bond-buying program as early as this year.
The jobless data which strengthen the prospects of economic growth, had a stabilizing effect on commodity and precious metal prices. Gold rebounded from its USD 1625 an ounce level and trades at 1652 in the morning. Also silver has turned from USD 29,50 to 30,30. The dollar is close to a two-and-a-half-year high against the yen as investors adjusted to the possibility of more monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and less from FED. The dollar posted a gain on 2,7 % against yen after reaching a 88,40 peak on Friday. USD/JPY is currently trading at 87,941.
EURO/USD fell to 1.30 on Friday on the interpretation that monetary easing is about to end. It has recovered over the weekend trading at 1.3032. The US benchmark S&P index, SPX, closed at its highest level since December 2007 on Friday after the publishing of job data which also showed a healthy expansion of jobs in the services sector.
For the first time since 2001 the United States dominates the list of places that global real estate investors would prefer to put their money in 2013. A published survey reflects a sharply more optimistic view on the US economy and property market for 2013. New York and London top the list with San Francisco number 3 and Houston, Texas climbing to number 5 with Washington in fourth place. Among countries US is ranked number one followed by Brazil, UK and Turkey. Among emerging countries Brazil is the top spot followed by China, Turkey, India and Mexico.
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