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Asian markets mostly up on Thursday, European futures down on GDP data

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average (+0.50%), Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.82%), China's Shanghai Composite (+0.57%) and South Korea's Kospi (+0.18%) rose like most equity indexes in Asia as investors' mood is up due to New Year. BoJ policy settings were kept unchanged.

Futures for the German DAX 30 (-0.09%) and the French CAC 40 (-0.11%) are signaling a lower opening ahead of the European session, with preliminary GDP Q4 data for both countries already out. In Germany, economic growth might have eased from 0.4% to 0.1% (YoY), below 0.2% consensus, with a quarterly recession of -0.6% (consensus of -0.5%). The quarterly recession in France was of -0.3%.

Germany: Quarterly GDP falls 0.6% in Q4

According to preliminary data released by Destatis on Thursday German GDP s.a. fell 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the 0.2% increase in the previous quarter. Analysts expected slightly less contraction of 0.5%.
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Forex: GBP/USD extends its decline, eyes on 1.5500

The sterling is intensifying its downside on Thursday, as risk aversion is taking over the markets. The bearishness surrounding GBP is dragging the cross to the vicinity of the key support at 1.5500 as the...
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