Asian markets trade lower; all eyes on European leaders’ first summit for 2012

<p>Asian stocks were mostly lower as the Chinese market resumed trading following a week long holiday. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.4% lower at […]</p>

Asian stocks were mostly lower as the Chinese market resumed trading following a week long holiday. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.4% lower at noon in Tokyo. The Shanghai Composite index was last trading 0.3% lower. The Nikkei 225 was 0.6% lower and Hang Seng 0.5% lower in Hong Kong.

Stocks fell from a three month high ahead of more news out of Europe this week. EU leaders will gather in Brussels today for their first summit this year. Greece might be very close to announcing a deal with its creditors. The euro was last trading at 1.3175 against the US dollar.

The Australian dollar fell slightly during the Asian trading session and was last trading at 1.0588. The Japanese Yen continues to hold gains against the US dollar which last bought 76.66.

In regional economic news, Chinese officials signaled caution toward hopes of rapid monetary loosening, sending the copper price slightly lower, last settling at around US$3.83.

It seems like policy makers will hold off loosening before the end of this month as previously expected and could potentially delay even further next month.

In other commodities, gold last traded at US$1732/oz while silver managed to hang on to its recent gains, last trading at US$33.56/oz. Crude oil for March delivery settled below US$100 per barrel.

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