US and Asian stocks fell on profit caution

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US and Asian shares took a break from the new year’s rallies yesterday and this morning on negative anticipations ahead of the corporate earnings season for last quarter of 2012. The aluminum giant, Alcoa, is as usual the first to present its quarterly results later today. The MSCI-index for Asia-Pacific drifted lower and eased 0,3 % after the New Year rally lifted stocks 2 %. Dow Jones were down 0,38 % with Walt Disney and Boeing the big losers. McDonald was on the top of the winning list gaining 1,18 %.
In South Korea Samsung Electronics, the world’s number one producer of memory chips and handsets posted a record operating profit on more than 8 billion dollar. Samsung’s guidance is in line with forecasts for quarterly presentation on January 25th. The South Korean KOSPI lost 0,4 % in spite of Samsung’s announcement. Generally there are a cautious attitude towards the fourth quarter presentations. Results are expected to be generally bad. This is going to weigh in on stock markets the coming two – three weeks.
The Euro remained firm against the dollar trading in the interval between 1.30 and 1.3035 on speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) might refrain from signalling more interest cuts when it meets on Thursday. USD/JPY which jumped to 88,40 at the end of last week, gaining more than 10 percent in two months, has corrected over the last two days trading at 87,50 yen to a dollar. The weakening of the yen is a result of speculation that the new Japanese government will push for aggressive monetary easing to fight deflation.
Position adjustments are awaited in currencies ahead of the ECB meeting and earnings reports. Euro/USD might gain ground and push back to the 1,3050 level ahead of Thursday ECB meeting. After the strong rally in USD/JPY a downward correction is waited. There is, however, strong technical resistance at 86,50 yen.
Copper prices rose to USD 8 096 a tonne on rumours that China’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has picked up in the last quarter. It is likely to increase to 7,8 %, higher than the general forecast on 7,5 %. China is the world’s biggest consumer of copper and other commodities. Oil prices remain steady with New York crude, NYMEX trading at USD 93 a barrel. Brent is at 111,50. Gold and silver prices stick above USD 1645 and 30 an ounce.
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