Asian stocks were mostly lower today as Chinese inflation numbers surprised on the upside

<p>Asian stocks were mostly lower today as Chinese inflation numbers surprised on the upside and Greece failed to make an announcement to ease market concerns […]</p>

  • Asian stocks were mostly lower today as Chinese inflation numbers surprised on the upside and Greece failed to make an announcement to ease market concerns as debt negotiations continue. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was 0.5% lower at noon in Tokyo, paring back earlier losses of as much as 1%. In currencies, the Australian dollar climbed back above 1.0805 against the US dollar while the euro built on similar gains, last trading at 1.3208 against the dollar. Gold traded steady at US$1734/oz while copper looks set to fall slightly below US$3.90/lb.

    In regional economic news, China’s January inflation measure came in at 4.5% which was higher than market expectations of 4.1% and above the PBOC’s official 4% target range. The inflation numbers were impacted by higher food costs during the January 22-28 period of celebration. Food prices increased by 10.5% compared to the same period last year and up from a 9.1% gain in December. The numbers will delay any monetary loosening response by the PBOC even further, initially causing weakness on regional equities.

    Regional corporate news was again dominated by Australian companies. Telco giant Telstra disappointed the market with its result that was broadly in line with market expectations. Guidance has been reaffirmed for 2012 and perhaps more importantly for income oriented investors; the commitment to dividend is as firm as possible with 28 cents per share the full year target. Also in Australia, Newscorp pleased the market with its better than expected second quarter result with earnings per share of 42 cents per share above market estimates of 35 cents per share. Rio Tinto is due to follow Australian peer BHP Biliton and report its earnings as the market opens in London tonight Asian time.

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