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Holding pattern ahead of trade data

Overnight trading was muted as markets prepare for China trade data and the US corporate reporting season. Amid light volumes, profit taking dominated industrial commodities and bonds, and the US dollar reversed recent weakness. European shares rose as German CPI data dropped in line with forecasts, showing an annual rate of 1.3%.  US shares slipped slightly despite better than expected PPI data and lower jobless claims.

Asia Pacific futures markets are pointing to opening gains. However the release of China trade data in the next 48 hours speaks directly to the key global issue, and may see this week’s tepid trading continue ahead of the release. Consensus forecasts of a 4% drop in US corporate quarterly earnings are another reason for caution. JP Morgan and Wells Fargo both report this evening.

Corporate news in combination with falling commodity prices could sour any positive start to Australian trading. Crown shares may see further pressure as buying spurred by a potential takeover proposal continues to recede. Qantas shares fell heavily yesterday after the tight-lipped announcement of the departure of a key executive. The ongoing lack of explanation of the resignation of the head of the international division may continue to weigh.

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