Asian markets climbed today. While Japanese stocks benefited from a weaker yen, Chinese stocks saw an influx of liquidity from pension funds. The Hang Seng was down after HSBC reported dismal earnings, leading to the stocks biggest decline in eight months. Other banks also lost. The U.S. Market was closed yesterday, but European stocks today manage to rise. Markit’s preliminary PMIs for the Euro Zone show further improvement.

Japan, China Keep Climbing

- Japanese stocks closed higher today, Nikkei 225 was up 0.7 percent, broader TOPIX climbed 0.6 percent to 1.555 points; lower yen continued to support markets, especially export oriented stocks, trade volume was thin, however, due to yesterday’s closed U.S. stock markets; analysts view latest rise in stocks as positive, given the lack of new external impetus; Japanese All Industry Activity Index was down 0.3 percent MoM in December; shares of Toshiba Corp were down, as were Nissan Chemical, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone and Softbank Corp; Nippon Paper rose 6.8 percent, NTN Corp up 5.1 percent, Oji Holdings rose 4.4 percent and JTEKT Holdings rose 3.4 percent

- Chinese stocks rose again, Shanghai Shenzhen Composite was up 0.4 percent at 3,253 points, CSI 300 Index rose 1.4 percent to 1,921 points; rise in market reflected flow of liquidity from pension funds which are expected to invest hundreds of billions of yuan in the local market; analysts see forming of bull market

- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined, Hang Seng Index was down 0.9 percent to 23,941 points, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index declined 0.6 percent to 10,388 points; declines led by shares of HSBC which had its worst performance since Brexit vote after reporting disappointing earnings and a share buyback that was smaller than anticipated; HSBC shed 5.0 percent, drawing shares of ICBC down 0.8 percent, CB down 0.8 percent and Bank of China Hong Kong down 0.5 percent; property stocks showed some improvements, Sun Hung Kai Properties were up 3.0 percent, Henderson Land up 1.4 percent and New World Development up 0.9 percent; Tencent were down 1.4 percent and Lenovo Group declined 1.3 percent

- Australian stocks were down a notch, closing at 5,791 points; mining stocks rose, BHP Billiton added 0.9 percent, Rio Tinto up 2.0 percent and Fortescue Metals up 2.7 percent, supported by higher iron ore prices; BHP Billiton reported earnings after the market closed, net profit at $3.2 billion in first fiscal half after a loss of $5.67 billion in the year-earlier period; earnings were bolstered by a rebound in commodity prices, cost cuttings and lack of writedowns, company is upbeat on commodity prices, especially oil prices; BHP Billiton reduced it net debt by 23 percent to $20.1 billion

- Korean Stocks higher, KOSPI rose 0.9 percent to 2,102 points today, supported by foreign investors; shares of Samsung rose 0.7 percent, Hyundai Motor up 0.7 percent; utility KEPCO down 0.1 percent

European Stocks Mostly Higher

- Euro Stoxx 50 up 0.2 percent at 3,319 points, FTSE 100 down 0.2 percent to 7,286 points, French CAC 40 up 0.1 percent at 4,871 points, German DAX rises 0.5 percent to 11,881 points and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index up 0.3 percent to 19,025 points

- in German trading shares of Continental, Adidas and Siemens rise; Fresenius, ProSiebenSat.1 and Linde decline
in London shares of Mediclinic International tank 7.1 percent, HSBC down 5.6 percent, Standard Chartered 2.3 percent lower; Rolls-Royce jump 8.2 percent

- Anglo American said EBITDA in 2016 was up 25 percent to $6.1 billion, net debt reduced by 34 percent to $8.5 billion; company said it wants to reinstate dividends by end of the year; stock loses 1.8 percent to 1,336 pence
Markit released preliminary PMI for European countries today, German manufacturing PMI in February up 0.6 points to 57 points, services PMI up 1.0 to 54.4 points; French manufacturing PMI down 1.4 points to 52.3 points, services PMI up 2.6 to 56.7 points; Euro-Zone manufacturing PMI up 0.3 to 55.5 points, services PMI up 1.9 to 55.6 points

Crude Prices Jump, Gold, Copper Down

- oil prices rise today after data from ICE Futures Exchange showed a record high for Brent net longs; CFTC last week also reported very high net longs for U.S. crude oil; analysts warn that investors exposition to rising prices might lead to a broader correction if market fundament changes; Reuters reports that global oil stocks, despite OPEC cut, are on a high level in many regions; WTI up 1.3 percent to $54.10/bbl; Brent up 1.3 percent to $56.91/bbl

- spot gold down 0.8 percent at $1,228.21/oz as dollar rises, Dollar Index up 0.6 percent to 101.52 dollars; gold stays lower as investor wait for more clues on U.S. monetary policies, higher dollar reflects anticipation of a rate hike in March

- dollar is also pressuring base metals, copper down despite latest reports from Freeport-McMoRan in Indonesia that the company will reduce production due to export ban; analysts at JPMorgan see potential for correction in aluminum prices at London Metal Exchange; copper down 0.6 percent to $6.031/metric ton, aluminum 0.8 percent lower at $1,883/metric ton

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