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Asian markets up ahead of Fed's Bernanke on Tuesday, Italy on election

China had disappointing HSBC flash PMI (50.4 in Feb, down from 52.3) and it's been reported (no confirmation yet) that PM Abe will nominate dove ADB President Kuroda to lead the BoJ. Investors may also be getting ahead of Tuesday’s Bernanke semi-annual testimony (likely to be dovish), and the $85b sequestration cuts scheduled to kick in on Friday, barring a last-minute deal in the US.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Exchange rallied +2.43%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained +0.17%, Mainland China's Shanghai Composite rose +0.44% and India's Bombay Sensitive moved higher by +0.15%, like most Asian equity indexes, except for South Korea's Kospi, down by -0.46%.

Futures for the German DAX 30 (+0.07%) and the French CAC 40 (+0.54%) are signaling a higher opening ahead of an empty economic calendar except for the Italian Parliamentary elections.

Forex: EUR/USD climbs to session highs, around 1.3215/20

The single currency is navigating session highs at the end of the Asian session on Monday, as risk appetite is prevailing despite the softer result from the flash manufacturing PMI in China for the month of February...
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Forex: GBP/USD struggles to reach 1.5150

After dipping to the area around 1.5070 after agency Moody’s stripped the UK from its AAA status on Friday, the sterling has managed to gather traction overnight and trade back above the key resistance at 1.5100 on Monday...
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