Asian trade: Asian markets hold above the breakeven line, even though another round of poor data hit the market’s valuation. The S&P closed lower, after it traded in the green most of the day.

GM posted its second biggest decline in history, $30.9 billion. Things do not look very rosy for this year either, 2008 was the fourth consecutive year in which GM was not able to post any profit. The carmaker’s deficit reached $82 billion in four years of consecutive losses. In comparison, since the credit crunch started, only two banks wrote down more than $30 billion, even though their annual losses should be somewhat smaller.

Now, GM’s fate lies on a new $16.6 billion loan, which should help the company withstand the first few months of the year. In the last week, news sources have reported that the Treasury already has a team of lawyers working on a hypothetical bankruptcy case.

In Japan, a report showed that industrial production fell a record 10% in January from one month earlier. The previous record-decline was seen only one month earlier, in December, when industrial production tumbled 9.8%. A few days back, a different report showed that January’s exports plunged 45.7% month over month, again being the biggest decline on record. The very poor releases coming out of Japan points out that the economic situation is deteriorating from month to month. In addition, it shows that external demand is falling, something that denotes a weak global growth.

Tonight, the Nikkei gained 53.27 points (0.71%) to 7,511.20. The Australian S&P gained 13.60 points (0.41%) to 3,359.10.

Crude oil declines for the first time in the last three days. Crude oil for March delivery fell $0.75 to $44.50.

Gold extended the selling wave from the last few days. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $1.40 to $941.20.