Investors in Japan seemed keen to buy on yesterday’s dip in the Nikkei, as the index ended the day up 0.68 percent and the week up 1.90 percent. Market participants on both sides of the Pacific will be paying attention to the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama. The Hang Seng was off 0.54 percent and ended the week down 2.82 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 increased 0.76 and was off 0.17 percent for the five-day period.
The markets looked healthy in Europe as New York headed toward its opening bell. Germany’s DAX was up 0.90 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.72 percent, and the STOXX 50 was up 1.44 percent. Business morale seems to be increasing as concerns about Italy’s political future simmer down.
U.S. futures at 8:00 a.m.: DJIA: +0.47%, S&P 500: +0.51%, NASDAQ: +0.46%.
1) Recently-released data suggests that the euro-area economy will contract in the first quarter of 2013, led by a worsening situation in both major and minor economies. France, the region’s second-largest economic engine, has a negative short-term economic outlook despite showing some strength earlier in 2012. Overall, economic output in the euro zone is expected to contract 0.3 percent in the first quarter, and unemployment could climb as high as 12.2 percent.
The euro area as a whole is expected to post a budget deficit of 2.8 percent in 2013, even as nations like France and Spain institute severe austerity measures.