Asian trade: Asian markets head higher as Japan is preparing for a third-stimulus package. However, U.S. futures fell during the Asian session, having the S&P erase as much as 7 points, or 0.9%
Asian markets rose for the first time in the last few days as Japan’s Prime Minister, Taro Aso, pledged for a third-stimulus package. The government aims to free the bank’s balance sheets by buying a number of securities held by the financial system, while it aims to create up to 2 million jobs over the next three years.
In the mean time, the Tankan release showed that manufacturer’s confidence fell to the lowest read in 34 years, since records of the index first begun. This points to a very harsh period ahead, as 25% of the economic strength comes from the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the same Tankan release showed that confidence among the non-manufacturer sector fell to -31 from -9, the biggest decrease on record.
Most of the gains were seen tonight in the commodity stocks and from the Asian car-markers, as Mr. Obama said that bankruptcy might be the best option for GM and Chrysler. This, theoretically, should allow Asian based companies to increase their market share in the U.S., currently the largest car-market in the world.
Over the last few months, Asian companies took an increasing share of the U.S. market, as most consumers were attracted to deals that were more competitive. Recently, Toyota took GM’s crown as the company with the biggest market share, as the number of new customer contracts at a near record pace. February numbers are expected to show that annualized car sales fell more than 8.8 million, the lowest read since late 1981
Tonight, the Nikkei rose 154.00 points (1.90%) to 8,263.53. The Australian S&P/Asx gained 0.50 points (0.01%) to 3,582.60.
Crude oil extended the decline seen in the last period. Crude oil for April delivery fell $1.20 to $48.50
Gold continues to trade within the range of the last few days of trading. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $1.40 to $923.60.