Asian markets push higher; BHP reports production number in line with expectation

<p>Asian stocks were higher today on positive offshore leads. The regional MSCI Asia Pacific index was 1.2% higher heading into the afternoon trading session in […]</p>

Asian stocks were higher today on positive offshore leads. The regional MSCI Asia Pacific index was 1.2% higher heading into the afternoon trading session in Tokyo.

Of the large movers, BHP Billiton was up around 2.4% after posting a quarterly production report which was largely in line with market expectations.

Global retail giant Westfield Group announced the divestment of eight shopping centres in its US portfolio, netting around US$1.15bn in sale proceeds. Westfield follows other listed property players in Australia who have recently parted with US real estate assets on reasonable terms.

It’s just another indication that the US appetite for risk is perhaps returning as the economy improves.

Toyota – Asia’s largest automaker by market value – added around 2.6% as optimisms around the global economy helped many other industrial stocks rise. US corporate earnings remain key this week and the stream of companies reporting have so far met market expectations.

It’s unclear how the next few nights will pan out, particularly when they coincide with jobless claims on Thursday.

In currencies, the Australian dollar was higher for most of the Asian trading session, last buying just a touch higher than 1.04 US cents. The Euro was settling at 1.3117. The Japanese Yen declined after the Bank of Japan commented on economic growth and the commitment to step in again if needed.

The US dollar was last buying 81.40 against the US dollar. Gold was flat at US$1651/oz while copper edged higher to US$3.64/lb, still within the US$3.60-65/lb band which seems to be holding well.

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