Consolidation appeared to be the order of the day for Asian equity markets as traders await a number of key economic releases and also further details on the geopolitical agenda. The majority of local indices retreated marginally with the Nikkei faring the worst of the bunch after the Bank of Japan failed to expand its admittedly already huge stimulus measures. Shanghai however bucked the trend, helped along by China easing financing restrictions on property firms, although whether this does anything more than simply kick an impending problem a little further down the road remains open to debate.
The key economic release today is arguably the ECB’s decision on whether to serve up some meaningful stimulus measures in an attempt to shore up the ailing eurozone economies. Markets are already pricing this in so failure to deliver could send shockwaves through equities globally. This is due ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street so could serve up some more direction here, although futures currently suggest that the main indices will start the session little changed. There are also a couple of important releases due from the US, including the ADP payroll survey and ISM non-manufacturing data but for now anyway we’re calling the DOW down 3 at 17075 and the S&P unchanged at 2001.