Sunday, September 23, 2012

Asian stock markets september 24 2012

Asian stock markets september 24 2012 : Asian shares eased on Monday as investors shifted their focus to economic fundamentals while monitoring progress in the euro zone debt bailout scheme.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.2 percent lower, with Australian shares down 0.1 percent and the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipping 0.4 percent. the Nikkei stock average opened down 0.4 percent.

Stocks will move in a range today, as investors focus on global growth, with Europe's ongoing problems still in focus

The U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan launched fresh monetary easing steps over recent weeks while the European Central Bank adopted a plan to buy bonds from euro zone states requesting assistance, to help drive down their borrowing costs.

Last week markets oscillated between rallying on the fact central banks took action in light of weak economies, then falling as participants focused on the weak economic conditions that prompted these stimulus plans in the first place.

News on Friday that Spain was considering freezing pensions and speeding up a planned rise in the retirement age raised hopes for the country applying for a bailout and lifted market sentiment, but uncertainty remained over whether and when such a move would come.

Spain has displaced Greece from the centre of the euro zone debt crisis, as markets worry it may eventually need external aid to help resolve its problems.

But Spain insisted on Saturday it will not rush to seek a sovereign bailout, even as the country suffers from a high deficit, soaring debts, a banking sector burnt by the bursting of a real estate bubble and a deepening economic contraction.

At the same time, euro zone states are preparing to allow the bloc's permanent bailout fund to leverage its capital in the same way as its predecessor so it can reach a capacity of more than 2 trillion euros and rescue big countries if necessary, Der Spiegel said on Sunday.

The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is expected to come into force on October 8 with a capacity of 500 billion euros.

The euro inched down 0.1 percent to $1.2966, after posting its first weekly decline in five, weighed by weak economic data which underscored challenges facing the region.

While growth concerns have gradually been outweighing the initial euphoria induced by the central banks' stimulus, as such steps were taken in response to the global economic slowdown, market jitters have also been calmed by central bank willingness to act when necessary. The Euro STOXX 50 volatility index, which gauges investor fears of future share price swings on euro zone blue chips, fell 4.4 percent to a 6-month low on Friday. A similar gauge for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, the CBOE Volatility index, fell on Friday to 13.98, not far from an August low of 13.30 which marked its lowest in five years.

One uncertainty which has persisted as major economies took action is whether China will ease monetary policy, with its economy on course to show slower growth for the seventh straight quarter over the current period.

A senior official was quoted in state media on Sunday as saying that China plans to stick to its tight property sector policies and a nationwide rebound in home prices remains unlikely, reinforcing officials' reluctance to ease property market restrictions to bolster the economy.

Global stimulus measures heightened anticipation for higher commodity prices, prompting hedge funds and other big speculators to raise their bullish bets on U.S. commodities by about $30 billion to nearly $118 billion since the end of July, trade data showed on Friday.

Bullion priced in euro terms hit a record high on Friday while spot gold touched $1,787.20 an ounce, just a tad below this year's high of $1,790.30 hit on February 29. Gold fell 0.7 percent to $1,769.26 early on Monday.

Oil prices, which on Friday rose on supply worries over tensions in the Middle East and delays in North Sea shipments, fell early on Monday. U.S. crude was down 0.1 percent to $92.79 a barrel and while Brent eased 0.2 percent to $111.25.

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