Stocks in Japan and mainland China finished above breakeven today, following a bullish run by U.S. equities on Friday. The Nikkei was also given an assist by exporters, as the yen weakened against the dollar. Among equities participating in the day's uptrend, Sharp and Panasonic added a respective 5.5% and 16.9%. Elsewhere, the Shanghai Composite got a boost after a weekend report showed the country's services industries edged higher in January. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi sat out the day's positive price action, as a strengthening won weighed on exporters. By the close, Japan's Nikkei jumped 0.6%, China's Shanghai Composite added 0.4%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi each fell 0.2%.
European markets are wallowing in the red at midday, as bond yields in Italy and Spain crept higher amid growing political tension in the region. A round of disappointing economic data is adding to the day's bearish bias, with reports indicating factory orders for the euro zone declined in December, and unemployment in Spain surged 2.7% in January. Against this backdrop, London's FTSE 100 is down 0.9%, the French CAC 40 is 1% lower, the German DAX has shed 0.7%, and Spain's Madrid General has dropped 2%.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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