There have been a lot of crosscurrents running through today’s North American and European trading sessions that may continue into today’s Asia Pacific trading. As had been widely expected, the ECB cut interest rates by 25 bps to 0.50%. While this may not have much of an immediate impact on the economy, it did give traders a psychological boost indicating that the shift away from austerity toward stimulus continues even through like everything else in Europe, that may take longer than the street would like. Indications that the ECB may be preparing to undertake further stimulus measures including further interest rate cuts and lowering the interest rate on overnight deposits to below zero (ie charge banks to park cash with the ECB) sent EUR sharply lower giving back a big figure at one point. Traders now turn their attention to the India where the Reserve Bank is expected to continue the trend toward global monetary easing. Ahead of the decision, service PMI numbers are expected which could keep India markets active through the day. The growing trend toward using monetary policy to boost economies and offset fiscal tightening also sparked a big rally in gold and silver as traders turned back toward hard assets with central banks apparently content to undermine the value of paper money with inflation currently benign. US indices rallied today after jobless claims came in at their best level in five years. It also appears to have boosted commodities as US crude oil gained 3.2% and gasoline rose 2 1%, while grains and copper also advanced. Natural gas staged a major breakdown today falling 6.5% as spring finally caught up with it and storage increased more than expected. The US claims improvement may come as too little too late to salvage the upcoming US nonfarm payrolls report. Today’s rally puts markets at risk should the number fail to meet relatively low expectations. Although rising stocks and commodities have built some positive momentum heading into Australian trading, upside could be limited should some traders decide to take money off the table ahead of the big US jobs number. With service PMI numbers coming out through the day, markets could remain active right through to the final bell for the trading week. Economic News Highlights of overnight announcements include: Singapore electronics index 51.2 vs street 51.3 Singapore PMI 50.3 as expected The OECD cut its 2013 GDP forecast for Italy to (1.5%) from (1.0%) ECB interest rate decision 25 basis point cut to 0.50% as expected, also cut marginal lending rate by 50 basis points to 1.00% US Challenger layoffs 38K vs previous 49K US jobless claims 324K vs street 345K (lowest since January 2008) US vehicle sales 14.8M vs street 15.2M US natural gas storage 43 BCF vs street 29 BCF US trade balance ($38.8B) vs street ($42.3B) Canada trade balance $0.02B vs street ($0.70B) Brazil manufacturing PMI 50.8 vs previous 51.8 Spain manufacturing PMI 44.7 vs street 44.6 Italy manufacturing PMI 45.5 vs street 45.0 France manufacturing PMI 44.4 as expected Germany manufacturing PMI 48.1 vs street 47.9 Greece manufacturing PMI 45.0 vs street 42.1 UK construction PMI 49.4 vs street 48.0 South Africa manufact PMI 50.5 vs street 48.7 Upcoming significant announcements include: 11:00 am AEST China service PMI previous 55.6 11:30 am AEST Australia producer prices previous 1.0% 3:00 pm AEST India service PMI previous 51.4 3:30 pm AEST India interest rate decision 25 bps cut to 7.25% expected 9:30 am BST UK service PMI street 52.4 8:30 am EDT US nonfarm payrolls street 140K vs previous 88K 8:30 am EDT US private payrolls street 151K vs previous 95K 8:30 am EDT US manufacturing payrolls street 5K vs previous (3K) 8:30 am EDT US unemployment rate street 7.6% 8:00 am EDT Brazil industrial production street (2.3%) 9:00 am EDT Brazil service PMI street 50.3