Asian markets were mixed today, as traders impatiently awaited some clarity out of Athens. On the economic front, a steeper-than-forecast rise in China's consumer price index sparked some jitters, as inflationary pressures could prevent Beijing from loosening the monetary-policy reins. In Tokyo, meanwhile, a downbeat report on core machinery orders weighed heavily on industrial issues. By the close, Japan's Nikkei lost 0.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.04%, China's Shanghai Composite edged up 0.09%, and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5%.
The major European indexes have edged slightly higher at midday. The other shoe has yet to drop in Greece, where Prime Minister Lucas Papademos reported that political officials are very close to striking a deal on austerity measures. Elsewhere, traders are considering a few central-bank maneuvers. The Bank of England and European Central Bank both opted to stand pat on interest rates, but the BoE also bolstered the size of its bond-buying program by 50 billion pounds. At last look, London's FTSE 100 has tacked on 0.4%, the French CAC 40 is up 0.6%, and the German DAX is 1% higher.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback is trading relatively flat this morning, with the U.S. dollar index down 0.01% at last look. Meanwhile, crude futures have ticked higher, with the front-month contract up 62 cents, or 0.6%, to trade at $99.33 a barrel. Elsewhere, gold futures are also inching upward, with the malleable metal last seen $2.20, or 0.1%, higher at $1,733.50 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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Recent XIV Action May Bode Well for Bulls
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