Asian stocks lower on France’s downgrade

<p>As expected, Asian stocks traded lower today on the back of negative offshore leads following the downgrade of France by S&P. The regional MSCI Asia Pacific […]</p>

As expected, Asian stocks traded lower today on the back of negative offshore leads following the downgrade of France by S&P.

The regional MSCI Asia Pacific index was 1.3% lower in late afternoon Tokyo trading. US markets are closed overnight for a public holiday.

In the currency market, the Euro continued to weaken against the US dollar, last seen trading at around 1.2641, while the USD/JPY was in a tight trading range between 76.50-77.00.

Copper was slightly weaker but continues to trade above US$3.60, an important technical level which broke last week. It last settled at around US$3.62.

In regional corporate news, Australia’s employment prospects slipped according to a measure of job advertisements which fell for the first time in almost a year. Jobs ads fell 0.9% in December according to the monthly ANZ survey which showed a 0.1% rise in November.

Internet jobs were 1.1% lower in December and down 2.3% for the year according to the survey. The numbers will be closely watched by traders ahead of official employment data in Australia this Thursday.

The Australian dollar meanwhile continues to trade near historic highs against the Euro, last trading at around 0.8135.

All eyes will be focused on China’s GDP print for the fourth quarter of 2011 expected to be announced tomorrow – January 17.

Elsewhere, Australian resource stocks will also be closely watched when they report production numbers throughout the week commencing tomorrow.

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