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The markets were mixed in Asia on Monday. The Nikkei edged up 0.4 percent, touching a fresh 53-month high after Haruhiko Kuroda, the nominee to head the Bank of Japan, publicly espoused an anti-inflationary easy-money policy. The yen weakened slightly to trade at 93.485 to the dollar. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng fell 1.50 percent, catalyzed by controls on the housing market in mainland China to curb rising property prices. The S&P/ASX 200, sensitive to its neighbors and fighting with declining natural resources stocks, fell 1.49 percent.
Markets were posting losses in Europe as New York headed into its opening bell. London’s FTSE 100 was off 0.56 percent, Germany’s DAX was off 0.62 percent, and the STOXX 50 index was off 0.46 percent. HSBC (NYSE:HBC) weighed on U.K. stocks after missing earnings expectations.
U.S. futures at 8:00 a.m.: DJIA: -0.13%, S&P 500: -0.10%, NASDAQ: -0.21%.
1) It’s not the first time the U.S. has survived the end of the world, and it won’t be the last. Sequestration Day came and went last Friday, and it’s hard to say what caused a bigger fuss: that Congress failed to reach an eleventh-hour solution, or that people just aren’t that worked up over the whole thing. Americans are used to political jockeying, and have become adept at navigating the endless bureaucratic sea of finger-pointing that drowns out most productive dialog, but this level in insensitivity to enormous events like the sequester is new. It may have been New Year’s madness, but taxes seem to get people more riled up than spending cuts.
Reports indicate that President Barack Obama is signaling a willingness to compromise, now that the eleventh hour has passed. Fundamental reform to medicare and Social Security, touchy subjects for most Democrats, will be on any table where the GOP sits down. However, further tax reform is still on the President’s agenda.
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