Positive US lead may trickle to Asian shares

<p>Asian stocks are expected to open mixed today after positive offshore leads from the U.S. and Europe. Ahead of the Asian open, Luxembourg Finance Minister […]</p>

Asian stocks are expected to open mixed today after positive offshore leads from the U.S. and Europe. Ahead of the Asian open, Luxembourg Finance Minister Luc Frieden told reporters that a plan put together last month to expand the European Financial Stability Facility’s (EFSF) fire power to 1 trillion Euros would be very difficult to reach, forcing some to re-evaluate the immediacy of a practical outcome to the ongoing debt crisis.

The EUR/USD remains stuck in a range between 1.33-1.34, with stiff resistance at levels above that. The AUD/USD has also fallen back, now testing parity again, before the Australian market open.

In corporate news, American Airlines’ parent AMR Corp has filed for bankruptcy after failing to reach a desired outcome from recent labor negotiations. The Texas-based company listed US$24.7 billion in assets and US$29.6 billion in debt in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The news comes as Australian airliner Qantas is stuck in a compulsory arbitration process after much publicised staffing issues.

In other Australian corporate news, food distributor Metcash reported an uninspiring 1.4% rise in underlying earnings. The rate of growth has slowed from a recent strong run of profits, mainly at the expense of a lagging Coles operation over the past decade, but all that has now changed. The earnings result is a good read into the health of Australian retailers, particularly in the staples space, where the pace of earnings growth has recently dried up.

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