Weak offshore leads may dampen Asian trading

<p>Asian stocks are expected to open flat today following neutral offshore leads. The S&P500 added 0.2% at its close when the yield on 10-year treasuries […]</p>

Asian stocks are expected to open flat today following neutral offshore leads.

The S&P500 added 0.2% at its close when the yield on 10-year treasuries in the US declined by 5 basis points, back below 2%. Energy prices were strong as the northern hemisphere goes into peak winter season.

The ailing Bank of America, which saw its share price fall this week to levels not seen since March 2009, managed to post a modest 1.2% gain.

In currencies, the Australian dollar continues to consolidate its position above parity against the US. The Euro, likewise, is for now holding on to the 1.3050 level but the net short positions are yet to change meaningfully and there are expectations for more European problems to emerge after the new years.

Gold was last trading at around US$1615/oz, comfortably above this week’s lows but still looking vulnerable. Copper likewise, last at US$3.38/lb.

In regional economic news, New Zealand’s economy grew faster than market estimates in the third quarter of this year, driven by the Rugby World Cup. GDP was 0.8% higher in the three months to September, rebounding from a 0.1% increase in the prior quarter.

Construction work slowed but there is an expectation for this to increase in the final quarter as rebuilding of earthquake devastated Christchurch accelerates. The New Zealand dollar has fallen around 4% over the past four months against the US dollar despite the good news.

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