Asian Stock Markets Week Ahead: Investors To Focus On US Data

on November 17 2012 8:58 PM

 

Asian stock markets ended lower last week as concerns about the U.S. fiscal cliff and euro zone debt crisis continued to weigh on the sentiment.

Stock markets in Asia are expected to move along with the global markets in the coming week in the absence of any major regional risk events and a light calendar for economic news.

Market participants are likely to turn their attention to the U.S. as key October housing indicators such as existing home sales, housing starts and building permits will be released during the week. The National Association of Realtors is due to report the sales of previously occupied homes after the market opens Monday.

Economists are forecasting that the existing home sales in October may decline 1.1 percent to 4.70 million compared to that in the previous month. Building permits are expected to fall 2.8 percent to 865,000 in October from the previous month while housing starts are likely to decline to 835,000 from 872,000 in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the concerns about the fiscal cliff, a set of spending cuts and tax increases that will automatically take effect at the beginning of next year and threaten to push the U.S. back into recession unless the government takes steps to prevent it, will continue to weigh on the markets.

The S&P 500 declined more than 5 percent in the seven sessions that followed President Barack Obama's re-election as uncertainty over fiscal policy weighs on sentiment. Obama and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle finally began the fiscal cliff negotiations Friday. The president said that he expected the beginning of a “fruitful” process.

“The debate over how to solve (the fiscal cliff) may be more productive than is commonly recognized. The U.S. is facing a major debt overhang, and serious steps toward addressing it might ultimately be viewed as a positive for future growth. The market may recognize this and, after a time of hand wringing, recover from the concerns with a renewed sense of optimism,” Brad Lipsig, senior portfolio manager at UBS Financial Services in New York, told Reuters.

China will be in focus again in Asia as a private sector version of the Chinese manufacturing PMI for November is due to be released Thursday and is likely to return above 50 level for the first time in twelve months. The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a measure of the nation-wide manufacturing, is likely to improve to 50.2 in November from a final reading of 49.5 in October.

On the earnings front, a slew of companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co, Agilent Technologies, Tyson Foods, Best Buy Co, Urban Outfitters, Deere & Co and Salesforce.com are scheduled to release the quarterly results in the week.

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