Mixed day for Asian stocks; Australian Gloucester Coal now a takeover target

<p>Asian stocks were mixed as the Kospi rebounded from yesterday’s declines following news of Kim Jong Il’s death. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was up […]</p>

Asian stocks were mixed as the Kospi rebounded from yesterday’s declines following news of Kim Jong Il’s death.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was up 0.3% in early afternoon Tokyo trading as the S&P500 index futures pointed to a 0.5% rise when markets resume trading tonight Asian time. Around seven stocks firmed for each that declined on the regional index which was 1.8% lower yesterday.

Gold continued to languish under US$1600/oz, while silver also continued to slip below US$29/oz.  The Australian dollar firmed slightly following the release of this month’s Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) meeting minutes. The comments suggest an ongoing debate of how much and when to cut rates, which might not necessarily see another cut in February as markets are expecting should European issues resolve.

In other regional economic news, South Korea’s exports, which are a large component of total economic growth, are expected to rise by 7.4% next year which is substantially lower than a prior estimate of 19.2%. The numbers were released by the finance ministry.

In corporate news, Australian listed Gloucester Coal was in a trading halt ahead of an expected merger with China’s Yanzhou Coal, in a deal thought to be worth around $2bn for Gloucester shareholders.

 

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