Article Highlights

  • Australia posts stronger than expected growth of 0.8% for Q4 2013
  • Russia intervenes in the forex market to keep its currency from falling
  • Nikkei chalks up back-to-back wins with 1.2% gain for the day
  • Euro zone and U.K. services PMI set for release
  • Euro zone retail sales to print 0.9% rebound?
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Riskier currencies stayed afloat in today’s Asian trading session, with NZD/USD making another test of the .8400 resistance and AUD/USD bouncing close to .9000. Data from Australia was stronger than expected, as the country reported a 0.8% growth figure for the last quarter of 2013. At the same time, the tension in Ukraine showed signs of subsiding, leading traders to close or reduce their risk-off bets.

Despite Vladimir Putin’s reassurances that military action would be a last resort, the Russian central bank still decided to intervene in the forex market to prevent further declines in the rouble in case the conflict escalates again. Russian equities still posted losses for the day but this behavior barely affected Asian equity markets, as the Nikkei scored another day in the green with its 1.2% gain.

In the next few hours, services PMIs from the U.K., Spain, Italy, and the euro region are likely to influence price action. The U.K. services PMI is projected to dip from 58.3 to 58.0, reflecting a weaker expansion in the sector. Meanwhile, both Spain and Italy are set to show improvements in their PMI readings and possibly lead to gains for the euro. Also due from the euro zone today is its retail sales report which could print a 0.8% rebound from the previous 1.6% decline.

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U.S. Session Recap

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