Last night's losses on Wall Street served to set the pace for equity markets across Asia, with concerns once again building over the situation in Ukraine. President Putin has ordered retaliatory sanctions to be imposed on European and US companies, whilst there's also news of a tie-up between Moscow and Tehran to secure oil supplies - a move that appears to be in contravention of trade sanctions that have been applied to Iran. As a result all the major Asian indices have finished Wednesday in negative territory with the Nikkei faring worst, down over 1% with some Yen appreciation taking a toll here, too.
Wall Street is currently eyeing a flat start to the day and there's not much in the way of economic data on the calendar that appears as if it will be able to shift sentiment. Mortgage application data could provide some insight as to consumer confidence, but it's going to be the next steps from Moscow that will likely be under the greatest scrutiny. Earnings highlights include Time Warner and Viacom, both due to report before the opening bell, but there's certainly no suggestion that bargain hunters are ready to move in and buy off the dips. Ahead of the open we're calling the DOW down 2 at 16427 and the S&P up 1 at 1921.