Asian markets on the balance firmer, with the Nikkei closing at session highs up around 1.1% on further Yen weakness, on speculation that the BOJ will ease monetary policy further next week. The Chinese industry minister says that China’s industrial output growth in Q4 may be faster than Q3 and positive signs for growth are accumulating.

In Europe, the Spanish treasury chief has said that Spain is almost fully funded until year end and can start funding itself for 2013, with the ECB having been very explicit on details for their bond buying program. Daimler warned on FY earnings last night ahead of today’s scheduled full earnings release, whilst Unilever and BASF announce stronger than expected results. European equity futures are looking slightly higher, and the Euro is back above the 1.3 level.

In the US, last night the FOMC repeated their pledge of exceptionally low rates at least through till mid 2015. In economic news we have initial jobless claims, the Bloomberg consumer comfort index and pending home sales, as for corporate earnings, Colgate ($1.38), Conoco-Phillips ($1.194), Proctor and Gamble (96c) are among names reporting.

Philip Ball | Sales and Trading