The markets closed down in Asia on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei fell 2.12 percent to a three-week low with real estate, financials, and exporters among the hardest hit. The yen was relatively flat at 94.215 to the dollar. The Hang Seng closed down 0.74 percent, while the S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.57 percent.
The markets in Europe struck a different tone, edging up modestly in afternoon trading. Germany’s DAX was up 0.08 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.38 percent, and the STOXX 50 was up 0.44 percent. The euro traded at 1.2811 to the dollar as New York headed into its opening bell.
U.S. futures at 8:40 a.m.: DJIA: +0.03%, S&P 500: 0.00%, NASDAQ: +0.10%.
Here are three stories to keep an eye on:
1) Russia will not come to the aid of individuals or businesses that have lost money in the Cypriot bailout, said First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who stated that while “it’s a terrible shame” that Russians with more than 100,000 euros in deposits in Cyprus will lose up to 60 percent of that money, “the Russian government will not take any action in such a situation.” Russians were expected to hold most of the 19 billion euros worth of non-EU, non-bank money held in the country as of January.
2) Manufacturing activity in China rebounded in March, according to the nation’s official purchasing managers’ index. China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed that the PMI hit an 11-month high of 50.9. This level indicates growth, but is below the reading of 52 that economists polled by Reuters were expecting.
The official PMI reading is roughly in line with HSBC’s separate flash PMI reading for March of 51.6. The Chinese government as well as independent observers have pegged the country for relatively modest GDP growth this year of about 7.5 percent. Participants in a Bloomberg survey conducted last month suggest that the Chinese economy could have grown 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, and as much as 8.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
3) “The market has moved so fast, it hasn’t given the analysts time to re-evaluate things,” said Malcolm Polley, chief investment officer at Stewart Capital Advisors, according to Bloomberg. Polley’s remarks follow the S&P breaking its all-time high of 1,565.15 last week, fueled by strong durable goods and home price data. Some observers are suggesting that with the market moving so fast and a new quarter ahead, analysts will need to step up their game if they are going stay ahead of the curve.