Asia stocks may remain under pressure

<p>Asian shares are expected to continue falling today but the rate of decline might start to moderate, given the magnitude of yesterday’s very large losses. […]</p>

Asian shares are expected to continue falling today but the rate of decline might start to moderate, given the magnitude of yesterday’s very large losses. The market will continue to weigh on China’s slowdown but we have been keeping a close eye on commodity prices and base metals in particular. 

While declines have been significant over the past month, copper seems to have found a temporary floor at around US$3/lb. it has held it over the past 24 hours. Nickel, usually a very discretionary metal used in production and a good signal of overall commodity direction, was up over 6% also. 

It’s unclear if these prices are sustainable, downside risk is real and very possible, but for now it seems like there is a floor being set.  Industrials and financials could lead today’s selling. 

In Australian corporate news, David Jones, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi are holding up relatively well during the past week’s selloff. There’s expectation among traders that rate cuts will come in time for Christmas and these retail stocks are positioned to benefit. 

In the small cap space, Bega Cheese is set to pick up the 30% of Tatura milk it doesn’t already own. The stock is emerging as a key agricultural and food play, compounded by the woes of Elders announced yesterday. 

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