Asian markets off its high, but still in positive territory

<p>Asian stocks were still in positive territory during late afternoon trade, though were off their highs from this morning. The extent of the declines were […]</p>

Asian stocks were still in positive territory during late afternoon trade, though were off their highs from this morning. The extent of the declines were perhaps a little disappointing, considering the extent of earlier gains, but yesterday’s close was strong so the market was consolidating on those gains.

Overall, the MSCI Asia Pacific index was flat in early afternoon Tokyo trading. The Australian market was 0.7% higher going into the close of trade, having been up above 1% during the morning session.

The Australian dollar dropped slightly on the back of a fall in November job vacancies, but it quickly recovered some losses and was last trading at 102.84 US cents.

The Euro lost some ground, last seen at around 127.42 US cents while the USD/JPY remains in its tight trading range, just shy of 77.00.

In regional corporate news, electronics giant Panasonic said that the company has no intention to invest in Olympus at this stage, despite the attractive valuation. Olympus shares have been dogged by disclosure issues over the past few months and become a constant discussion point among equities traders in Tokyo.

In Australia, miners in Western Australia’s north west region have shut down operations in anticipation of Cyclone Heidi, which is expected to hit over the next day or so.

Port Headland, Dampier & Cape Lambert have all closed, affecting miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals. Woodside Petroleum has also shut several offshore oil fields. Port Headland exports around 240m tonnes of iron ore annually making it one of the largest in the world.

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