Although China’s indices were able to shrug off yesterday’s soft PMI and rebound up from near 52-week lows, indices in Europe and North America, which have been closer to their 52-week highs lately, felt the pinch. US indices had started the day in positive territory but slumped after US flash manufacturing PMI was nothing to sneeze at but came in slightly below expectations giving traders an excuse to take some profits. European markets, meanwhile, traded lower on mixed flash PMI with France beating expectations offset by Germany’s misses. Political tensions surrounding Ukraine have risen today with western leaders meeting to try and come up with a meaningful response while Russia ignores them and keeps consolidating its position in Crimea. The impact on markets has been mixed. Grains have benefitted, with the political risk component in their pricing increasing again with both wheat and corn posting significant gains. The impact on stocks and energy commodities appears more murky. Defensive plays, meanwhile have sent the opposite signal with sharp declines by gold, silver and CHF suggesting that some clearly are not expecting the situation to escalate again. (Which it could at any time, but who knows?) Heading into today’s Asia Pacific trading, the focus is once again on China where the release of leading indicator data could spark some action in china sensitive markets. The Hang Seng and China A markets have been on the rebound while AUD and NZD have been at the top of the league for major paper currencies overnight and traders may be looking to the data for reasons to either extend the rallies or take profits. Economic News Significant announcements released overnight include: US flash manufacturing PMI 55.5 vs street 56.5 France flash manufacturing PMI 51.9 vs street 49.8 France flash services PMI 51.4 vs street 47.5 Germany flash manufacturing PMI 53.8 vs street 54.6 Germany flash services PMI 54.0 vs street 55.5 Upcoming significant announcements include: 1:00 pm AEDT China leading indicator 9:00 am GMT Germany IFO business climate street 110.9 9:00 am GMT Germany IFO current assessment street 114.5 9:00 am GMT Germany IFO expectations street 107.7 9:30 am GMT UK consumer prices street 1.7% 9:30 am GMT UK retail prices street 2.6% 9:30 am GMT UK producer input prices street (5.3%) 9:30 am GMT UK producer output prices street 0.7% 9:30 am GMT UK house purchase loans street 50.0K 1:00 pm GMT Hungary interest rate decision 10 bps cut to 2.60% expected 9:00 am EDT US house price index street 0.6% 10:00 am EDT US consumer confidence street 78.5 10:00 am EDT US Richmond Fed street 4 versus previous (6) 10:00 am EDT US new home sales street 445K