Profit Taking Ahead of the Weekend

Although Greece is closer to reach a an agreement with bondholders, Europe’s bond auctions were successful this week, and the US presented upbeat economic data and earnings yesterday, markets are retreating on profit talking operations ahead of the weekend.

In Asia, stocks advanced on easing worries over Europe, since the French and Spanish bond auctions were solid yesterday, pushing the yields down. Meanwhile the U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest in almost 4-years and Morgan Stanly and Bank of America posted better than expected earnings.

Nikkei 225 rose 1.47% especially since sentiment was positive as Greece is getting closer to reach an agreement with bondholders over the size of the losses to avoid a messy default, while China’s manufacturing PMI might contract for a 3rd month, boosting chances for easing measures to support growth.

However in Europe shares opened lower today as caution dominated ahead of the Greek talks, with DAX falling 0.38% while CAC 40 fell 0.51%. European stocks entered an overbought area after reaching a five month high, while Google delivered the first disappointing results on weaker European demand.

Data today include the UK retail sales expected to improve, Canada’s CPI expected to shrink, and the US existing home sales expected to expand in Dec. Earnings today include General Electric Co., while Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti’s Cabinet will meet to pass a plan to boost economic growth.

As risk aversion intensified ahead of the weekend, the euro is weakening, trading around 1.2925 while the pound is trading with a slight downside momentum around 15470. The dollar index is stronger trading around 80.27. The yen is weaker trading around 77.22. The AUD is weaker trading around 1.0395.

As the US dollar regained some of its strength, downside pressures were imposed on commodities, therefore oil lost ground since today’s opening, trading around $100.30 from the highest of $102.04; while gold is slightly lower on profit taking, trading around $1650.25, yet heads for the 3rd week of gains.

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