Strong open forecast for Asian stocks; better than expected housing starts recorded in the US

<p>Asian stocks are expected to open higher today on some very strong offshore leads. The S&P500 was 3% higher at its close with all but […]</p>

Asian stocks are expected to open higher today on some very strong offshore leads. The S&P500 was 3% higher at its close with all but 8 stocks on the index posting gains.

Homebuilders were the biggest winners on better than expected housing starts data which showed 685,000 new dwellings for the month of November. Risk assets rallied while the dollar declined.

The Australian dollar managed to break through parity against the US dollar, last trading at around 1.0065 cents. The Euro managed to rise above the 1.30 level against the US dollar which simultaneously weakened against the Japanese Yen, last trading at 77.86.

In regional corporate news, Ping An Insurance Co – which is China’s second largest insurer overall – plans to tap the market for around $4.1bn of bonds to provide it with working capital. The new securities will be traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and provide income investor with a coupon of around 3%.

The move comes as other insurers like China Life for example, listed in Hong Kong, trade at near record levels with many long term investors eyeing them as an attractive entry point to get exposure to China’s rising consumption and demand for financial services, like insurance.

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