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    China’s GDP data meet expectations

    US stock markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day. The dollar strengthened yesterday, live dollar index data indicate the ICE US Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar’s value against a basket of six major currencies, edged up 0.2% to 99.08. Stock futures are edging up today as China GDP data met expectations for fourth quarter growth. China's economy grew 6.8% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier and posted a 6.9% growth rate for 2015 as a whole, the slowest in the last 25 years. Industrial output rose 5.9% compared with December 2014 instead of a 6% forecast increase. The retail sales growth declined to 11.1%, disappointing expectations that accelerating consumption would become the new engine of growth for slowing Chinese economy. Overall the data were in line with expectations and the lack of negative surprises provided some relief to concerns about China’s economic health. Chinese stocks rose on expectations the government will unveil more stimulus measures: the CSI 300 index of 300 largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen gained 2.9%. Today UnitedHealth Group and IBM will report quarterly earnings in US. At 16:00 CET National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index will be released. The tentative outlook is neutral. At 22:00 CET October Treasury International Capital Long Term Purchases will be published.

    European stock markets fell on Monday as falling energy and banking shares weighed on market indexes. The euro weakened 0.2% against the dollar. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed down 0.36% at 328.64. Germany's DAX 30 fell 0.25%, France's CAC 40 and UK’s FTSE 100 indexes dropped 0.49% and 0.42% respectively. Trading volume was lower than usual as US markets were closed for the Martin Luther King holiday. Bank stocks fell on news the European Central Bank was checking with a number of euro-zone banks about non-performing loans. Italian Banco Monte Paschi tumbled 14.8%. Adidas gained 6.3% after the German sportswear maker announced Henkel's Karsten Rorsted will become its chief executive in October. Ericsson rose 2.9% after Nordea Markets raised the rating of mobile telecoms gear maker’s stock to "buy". Today at 10:30 CET December Consumer Price Index will be released in UK. The tentative outlook is neutral for Pound. At 11:00 CET January ZEW Economic Sentiment for Germany and euro-zone will be published. The tentative outlook is negative for euro.

    Nikkei closed 0.6% higher today after a three-day losing streak. Yen weakened on declining risk aversion as China’s GDP report met expectations. Shin-Etsu Chemical sank 2.3% after Macquarie Group cut its rating on the stock. Nintendo rallied 9.1% after Macquarie raised video-game maker’s rating. Sharp gained 2.4% after a report that Innovation Network Corporation of Japan may raise its investment offer for the electronics company.

    Oil prices are stabilizing today after falling to 2003 levels on Monday. Brent for March settlement fell to $28.55 on the London’s ICE Futures exchange. WTI for February delivery fell 3.6% to $28.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Data from China provided support for oil prices today as they showed preliminary oil demand for 2015 was at a record 10.32 million barrels-per-day, up 2.5% from a year ago. Outlook remains bearish as increased exports from Iran are expected to exacerbate global oil oversupply.

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