US bourses ended the session nursing modest losses. The DJIA underperformed the other major bourses, weighed by Wal-Mart shares which have dropped almost 10% after their Q4 earnings. Gap shares also fell sharply after their President and CEO Jeff Kirwan is to leave the company. In fixed, Treasuries closed in the red as investors watched the US Treasury issue $179.0 Bln of debt, including a two-year note that tailed by 0.1 basis points to yield 2.255% on a soft bid-to-cover. In the FX markets, the USD index remained onside having gained against almost all its G10 rivals although lost some momentum after news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged an attorney (Alex Van Der Zwaan) with making false statement to the FBI and his office in regards to the Russia probe. Sterling continued to be supported after jumping earlier in the day on a report from Business Insider suggested that European Parliament is to call for Britain to have ‘privileged’ single market access after Brexit. In energy space, oil prices recovered off their lowest levels with US crude futures settling higher by $0.22 at $61.90.
Ahead of the Asian open, Japanese Top Currency Diplomat Asakawa said recent Yen moves have been one-sided, adding she sees no need for major change in G20 agreement to refrain from competitive devaluation of currency. Data wise, Australia’s Westpac leading index rose 0.24% m/m in January.
Looking ahead, we get Australia’s wage price index and construction work done. We also get Japan’s all industry activity index, supermarket sales and department store sales. On the speaker front, we look for possible comments from BoJ’s Funo.