It was a less-than-stellar start to the week in Asia, as traders were spooked by a report showing Japan's economy contracted by an annualized 3.5% during the third quarter. However, China managed a positive finish, bolstered by news of a wider-than-forecast trade surplus of $32 billion in September. By the close, China's Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.2%, South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2%, and Japan's Nikkei lost 0.9%.
It's a mixed bag in Europe at midday, after Greek lawmakers passed the country's 2013 budget. Eurogroup leaders are due to meet later today to discuss the release of another tranche of aid to the cash-strapped nation. Meanwhile, European Union (EU) budget talks have been rockier, with Austria, Britain, and France now balking over the proposed spending plan. At last check, the German DAX and London's FTSE 100 are both up 0.3%, and the French CAC 40 is down 0.1%.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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Recent XIV Action May Bode Well for Bulls
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