Asian stocks were higher today, thanks to positive offshore leads.

<p>  The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.8% higher in late afternoon Tokyo trading. Australia’s ASX200 index, having outperformed for the past few sessions, closed […]</p>


The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 0.8% higher in late afternoon Tokyo trading. Australia’s ASX200 index, having outperformed for the past few sessions, closed around 0.2% higher today after financials stocks lagged following the release of ANZ Bank’s result this morning.

ANZ’s earnings were in line with market expectations but bank stocks have run up hard in anticipation of strong numbers and benefiting from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) cut to official interest rates yesterday.

The Australian dollar was last buying 1.0341 against the US dollar while the Euro maintain the morning session levels to last settle at 1.3218 against the US dollar.

The US dollar/ Yen pair was last trading at 80.33 close to the intra-day high of 80.41.

Gold remains struck in a very tight trading range near US$1655/oz, while copper was flat at a solid US$3.82/lb.

In regional corporate news, Brambles – the world’s biggest supplier of wooden pallets – rallied in Sydney trading after reaffirming its profit forecast for this financial year. Businesses that provide earnings certainty are being rewarded by the market.

Also in Sydney, APA Group, whose pipelines carry more than half of Australia’s natural gas – was punished, with shares falling more than 5% after its largest shareholder – Petroliam Nasional Bhd – divested its entire stake in the company.

In Europe, UBS reported a 54% fall in earnings on the back of investment bank costs and bad debt charges. Net income fell to 827 million Swiss francs from 1.81 billion francs in the year-earlier period, but this was slightly better than market estimates of around 811 million francs.

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