Current Futures: Dow +25.00, S&P +3.50, NASDAQ +4.75

Asian markets and U.S. futures advanced during the first trading session of the week, despite the Nikkei being closed for business tonight, as the country observes the Greenery Day Holiday. 

There were no important economic news releases during the weekend. However, in Asia, a group of nations agreed to set up a $120 billion foreign-currency reserve fund, with Japan offering another $60 billion in swap facilities to insure the yen’s liquidity. 

There have been talks for quite some time about such a measure in the region, but until now the Asian nations failed to reach an agreement. The reserve fund, also known as the Chiang Mai Initiative will allow Asian countries to borrow as much as 20% of a pre-determined amount without any restrictions, but the remainder of the 80% will only come after a number of restrictions have been set. 

“This measure is very good for the region’s stability, and will also allow some countries such as China, Japan and South Korea to establish themselves as regional economic leaders,” Trade Team said. “The three countries will contribute considerable amounts of money to the funds, which will help in that process.”  

“In the mean time, April was one of the best months for equity traders,” Trade Team notes. “The U.S. equity markets posted the biggest monthly gain seen in the last nine years, when the market was heading towards the dot com bubble, while European markets advanced the most on record for a month,” they added. “The rally was helped with the new accounting rules, which has proven to be very good for the bank’s balance sheets.”

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $53.20 per barrel, down by $0.10.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading down $0.40 to $887.70.