Asian stocks moved higher on signs that profit growth will be sustained, led by energy and technology companies with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rising 0.5%, Nikkei rising 0.15%, Hang Seng rising 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed. Asian markets also rose as companies from IBM to Apple are due to release earnings reports this week in the US.
The EURUSD rose to 1.3334, reversing earlier losses when it dropped to 1.3294 on speculation that housing starts in the US probably declined adding to signs of weakening housing market and that the Fed will keep interest rates on hold. Housing starts probably dropped 0.9% to 550,000 last month while Existing home sales rose to 4.86 million after falling in July due on Jan. 20. in addition, a Spanish paper reported that Russia might shift its policy towards purchesing Spanish debt after suspended purchases back in 2010. USDJPY traded at 82.59 as Dollar has been retreating against majority of the currencies on the weaker outlook, AUDUSD traded at 0.9977 highs, GBPUSD trading at 1.5954 highs as UK consumer confidence rose 8 points to 53 from a 20-month low last month as consumers see it a good time to buy household good before this month's increase in sales-tax. USDCAD reached a 2 and half year low as investors await today's BOC rate decision expected to remain unchanged, trading at 0.9844 and as demand for Canadian securities reached an annual high.
EU finance ministers met yesterday to discuss on the debt-revamp strategies where boosting the fund's size was ruled out for now and indicated they don't face immediate pressure to control the crisis. There have been difference of opinion on how the EFRF will be restructured and how any modifications would be. Belgium is in favor of doubling the lending capacity of the fund, Germany and Austria don't see any urgency for such a provision while France says that the EFRF should be replaced and reinforced and that a blueprint of the draft to be submitted by March. Further discussions and clarity will be seen when all the finance ministers meet today again.
UK releases inflation report, EU and Germany release ZEW Survey reports, BOC announces interest rate decision while US releases Empire Manufacturing and treasury inflow reports.