Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news the New Zealand dollar edged back over 81 USc overnight after the US stock market capped off a 12% rise this year by firming to a four year high in intra-day trade.
Eventually US stocks closed down aroun 0.4% with Apple off its highs set yesterday when it became the most valuable listed company in history, surpassing Microsoft's value set at the height of the tech bubble in 1999. See more here at Reuters.
Markets are still hopeful the European Central Bank will push ahead with plans to buy Southern European bonds to help ease tensions in the Euro-zone after a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled his support for the plan. See more here on a rise in Eurostoxx at Bloomberg.
Investors are still broadly on hold during the Northern Hemispher summer holidays, awaiting a speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Jackson Hole symposium for global central bankers on August 31, followed by monetary policy decisions from the Fed and the ECB in early September.
Stocks have rallied broadly over the last month on hopes for stimulus at those meetings and hopes the Euro-zone crisis can be solved.
Meanwhile, Australian stocks and the Australian dollar firmed yesterday and last night after China's big SouthWestern city of Chongqing announced plans for a 1.5 trillion yuan (US$250 billion) stimulus package over 3 years. This compares with the 4 trillion yuan stimulus enacted in late 2008 and 2009 in China overall. See more on Chongqing's plan here.
However, signals are mixed from China. The People's Bank of China injected a record amount of funds overnight to try to pull down money market interest rates, which have risen in recent days. See more here at Bloomberg.
Also, the Reserve Bank of Australia released minutes suggesting it may not need to cut rates again as the domestic economy there is solid, offsetting the weakness in the global economy. See more here at Bloomberg.
(Updated with video and more detail)