International equity markets finished with modest losses overnight as President Obama prepares his State of the Union address to tackle issues surrounding spending cuts, immigration law, and gun control.
In Europe, the region’s finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss Greece’s debt woes, the upcoming election in Italy, and the recent corruption scandal involving Spain’s Prime Minister.
The UK’s FTSE added 13 points (+0.2%) to settle at 6277 whilst Germany’s DAX declined 18 points (-0.2%) to settle at 7634. France’s CAC traded flat to settle at 3651.
Stateside, the Dow Jones decreased 22 points (-0.2%) to settle at 13971 whilst the S&P fell one point (-0.1%) to settle at 1517. The Nasdaq shed two points (-0.1%) to settle at 3192.
In the commodity space, oil finished higher after ECB council member, Jens Weidmann, said that he does not believe the euro’s value is too high at present. Crude oil for March delivery climbed $1.31 to settle at $97.03 per barrel.
Gold declined for the same reasons that affected equities and concerns that the Chinese holidays will negatively impact demand for the commodity. Gold futures for April delivery declined $17.80 (-1.1%) to settle at $1,649.10 per ounce.
In the currency space, the yen declined against the US dollar after the country’s Economy Minister, Mr. Akira Amari, said that the Japanese government should focus its efforts towards increasing the value of the country’s equities.
The euro advanced against most of its peers for the same reasons oil finished higher. The US dollar climbed higher against the yen as euro finance ministers contemplate releasing a statement to prevent a global currency war.
Today will see the release of the NAB business confidence data (11:30am, AEDT).