In Europe the FTSE shed six points (-0.1%) to settle at 5900, whilst the CAC (-0.3%) and DAX (-0.2%) almost suffered declines.
European officials rushed to finalise details of the 130 billion euro Greek bailout amid signs Germany and its Eurozone allies may not be prepared to approve the deal at a Finance Ministers meeting tonight.
Stateside, the Dow gained four points after being down as many as 70, settling at 12878. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also little changed, bouncing back from earlier weakness.
US advance retail sales rose by just 0.4% in January after a revised flat reading for December (previously +0.1%). The main drag on the January result was auto sales which fell 1.1%, partly due to discounting.
The Aussie dollar was little change overnight, holding around the US$1.06 handle, whilst the yen fell to a three-month low versus the US dollar after the BoJ said it would increase the size of its asset-purchase fund, damping demand for the Asian nation’s currency.
Front month oil was slightly stronger, adding 0.3%, whilst the now more widely traded March contract fell 0.2% to US$100.74 a barrel, weighed down by the weaker-than-expected US retail sales data.
Base metal prices were mostly weaker with the exception of aluminium which rose 0.2%. Gold fell for the third straight session, down 0.2% to US$1,722 an ounce.
Westfield, Fortescue, Dexus and CBA are amongst those reporting earnings today.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of Westpac consumer sentiment, 10:30am, AEDT, and new motor vehicle sales, 11:30am, AEDT.