Japan’s Economy Grows For Fourth Straight Quarter

Japan’s economy was stronger than expected in the July-September period, as consumer spending offset weakening exports and a strong yen.

Real gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 3.9 per cent over the three-month period, the Cabinet Office said Monday.

The result outpaces Kyodo news agency’s average market forecast for an annualized 2.6 per cent increase.

On a quarterly basis, the growth translates to 0.9 per cent growth from the April-June period. [Read more...]

GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar Holds Gains, Boosts Japan Stocks

The U.S. dollar rose marginally on Wednesday to hit its highest levels since late October against a basket of major currencies as the euro extended its losses over worries about euro zone sovereign debt.

The dollar’s strength boosted exporters in Japan, helping to push the Nikkei average up to a four-month high, while gold and silver inched up again after pulling back from record highs reached on Tuesday.

The dollar gained as U.S. Treasury bond yields rose, with the impact of the currency move felt across asset classes. The dollar index rose as high as 77.869, a level it last touched in late October.

“We’ve failed to notice that there is an improved tone to U.S. data and that is manifesting itself in a bounce in the U.S. dollar and it is manifesting itself in a bounce in U.S. Treasury yields,” said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist at Westpac Bank in Sydney. “That is a process that can go a bit further. It’s quite a potent force in the short term,” he said. [Read more...]

Gold Prices Heading For The 10th Straight Year Of Gains

Today, this proverb rings truer than it has in decades with the price of gold having traversed a vast distance virtually uninterrupted amidst global economic uncertainties. The price of gold is now at a record high ($1,350/oz), and in dollar terms it is up by 22.9% so far this year. If it ends the year on a positive note, it will be the tenth straight year of gains and the longest bull market for gold since 1920. This would also translate into a CAGR of 17.84%, since the beginning of this decade.

This upward move, however, has prompted a lot of talk about taking profits with the expectation of a significant decline in the near future. While we have been positive on gold for some time now, those claiming that the bull market in the commodity is ready to top out have some justifiable arguments. [Read more...]

US STOCKS-Indexes Edge Lower As Investors Mull Slow Recovery

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, rebounding for a second day in a row from more substantial losses, as concerns about slower economic growth held trading to a tight range.

Stocks were down by 1 percent early in the session after the release of data showing U.S. gross domestic product growth slowed in the second quarter. A separate report later showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest grew more than expected this month, spurring buying that helped equities rebound.

The S&P 500 Index has found support in the 1,088 to 1,090 range as economic data have come in mixed but earnings have shown strength.

“We’re reading through each piece of data to see if we’re on the upper end or the lower end of the trading range,” said Joseph Battipaglia, market strategist with Stifel Nicolaus in Yardley, Penn. “So you have a market today that is not breaking in either direction with any conviction.” [Read more...]