Asian markets lost some ground; Aussie dollar recovers despite political bickering

<p>Asian stocks lost ground today, in line with the negative offshore leads from US markets overnight. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.3% in early […]</p>

Asian stocks lost ground today, in line with the negative offshore leads from US markets overnight. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.3% in early afternoon Tokyo trading.

Technology and generally higher growth companies were the largest losers among the regional index. The S&P500 futures index was last pointing to a flat start when trading resumes tonight.

All eyes are on Friday’s jobless claims numbers in the US to see if the world’s largest economy is continuing in its improving trend. Market estimates are for 354,000 initial claims. The data to be released on Friday will coincide with fourth quarter GDP numbers out of the United Kingdom.

In metals, gold was relatively flat at US$1773/oz after yesterday’s rise, while silver remained comfortably above US$34.20/oz. Copper was also solid at US$3.83/lb.

In currencies, the Australian dollar made up some of its lost ground during the session as leadership speculation mounts ahead of Monday’s internal Labor ballot. The Australian dollar was last trading at 1.0642 against the US dollar after hitting an intraday high of 1.0653.

The Euro was mostly unchanged at 1.3258 against the US dollar. The greenback managed to hang onto its recent gains against the Japanese Yen, last buying 80.15, which is still above the psychological 80 mark. It hit an intra-day high of 80.35, something Japanese exporters and the Bank of Japan will no doubt be welcoming in light of sluggish export numbers over the past few months.

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