The Bank of Japan's latest Tankan survey results showed that
business confidence in the nation rose to its highest level in six
years from October to December.
Even more encouraging was that sentiment for smaller firms,
which are normally last to receive the benefits of an economic
recovery, also brightened. The index for big manufacturers'
sentiment rose 4 points from the last quarter to plus 16.
The positive reading supported the BOJ's claims that the
Japanese economy will be able to withstand the nation's planned
sales tax hike. The central bank is set to hold a policy meeting on
December 19-20, where most expect the bank to maintain its current
On Sunday the European Union said it would suspend talks about a
trade deal between Ukraine and the EU as Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovich's terms for the deal were considered unreasonable.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets for the fourth
week in a row to rally against Yanukovich's decision to turn away
from an EU deal, calling for Yanukovich's removal from office. Over
the weekend, the Social Democrats endorsed a coalition agreement
with Angela Merkel and her conservative party. The new coalition
will get to work on their latest agenda, a barrage of controversial
spending increases and new labor rules that many worry could chip
away at the nation's economy and undermine economic reforms in
other eurozone nations. Merkel will likely be sworn in for her
third term on Tuesday. At the World Policy Conference in Monaco, a
leading Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal blasted the Obama
administration on everything from its secret diplomacy with Iran to
its lack of effort in Syria. Turki said the Gulf states were
shocked that the US worked behind their backs in planning its next
steps in the Middle East. He called for Saudi representation at the
negotiations with Iran, saying trust between the US and Saudi
Arabia had been broken. As the US government's healthcare website
access improves and the initial deadline for Americans to sign up
for coverage approaching on December 23rd, health insurers are
spending millions on advertising to attract young, healthy
subscribers. The new ad campaigns are a massive shift for insurers
who are marketing to the public for the first time, in the past
insurers simply sold plans to human resource managers for their
Asian markets were mostly lower, the Japanese NIKKEI lost 1.28
percent and China's Shanghai composite was down 1.32 percent. The
Shenzhen composite was down 1.61 percent and the Hang Seng index
lost 0.51 percent.
European markets were also lower, the UK's FTSE lost 0.08
percent and the eurozone's STOXX 600 lost 0.21 percent. The German
DAX fell 0.12 percent and France's CAC 40 was down 0.23
Energy futures were mixed, Brent futures were up 0.37 percent
and WTI futures fell 0.27 percent. Gold fell 0.06 percent and
sliver lost 0.28 percent. Industrial metals were up across the
board with tin posting the largest gains, up 1.11 percent.
The euro remained above $1.37 and the pound gained 0.04 percent
against the American currency. The dollar lost 0.43 percent to the
yen and gained 0.10 percent against the Australian dollar.
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:
) gained 0.49 percent in premarket trade after falling 0.36 percent
over the past five days International Game Technology (NYSE:
) lost 6.72 percent in premarket trade after falling 2.52 percent
over the past week Regions Financial Corp (NYSE:
) lost 2.52 percent in premarket trade after falling 1.85 percent
over the past week Pfizer Inc (NYSE:
) lost 0.33 percent in premarket trade after slipping 4.09 percent
over the past week.
No notable earnings releases expected on Monday.
Notable economic releases on Monday will include US industrial
production, British manufacturing production, the eurozone trade
balance, and the eurozone's services and manufacturing PMI
For a recap of Friday's market action, click .
Tune into Benzinga's pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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