Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news that today is a partial public holiday in the United States and many markets are closed. Also, President Obama has been inaugurated for his second term today.
European and Chinese equities flirted with two-year highs overnight, as a political attempt to break a budget impasse in America and expectations of aggressive Japanese stimulus built an appetite for shares.
Japanese equities surged as well in anticipation of a more aggressive monetary policy stance, but not everyone is happy.
The slump in the yen has prompted Russia's central bank to warn of a new round of 'currency wars' and the medium-term risk of running ultra-loose monetary policies is likely to be a theme of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which opens on Thursday our time. The world has not yet escaped the risk of a collapse in the global economy despite some renewed confidence heading into 2013, the Swiss founder of the annual high-powered talk-fest has said.
Things are a bit tough in Britain however with talk of a triple-dip recession there and big job layoffs looming in London's finance industry. The Pound sank, and the NZ$ is approaching its all time high against the English currency. Bank of England maverick executive Andrew Haldane has said that bank bonuses should be deferred for up to ten years in "improve prudence" in remuneration.
Gold is holding at about US$1,690 per ounce; overnight Goldman Sachs said the precious metal will likely rise over the next three months as American lawmakers attempt to tackle the country’s debt ceiling; it also said it expects the world’s largest economy to slow. It is advising investors to place bets that gold will rise.
Yesterday's release of the international Demographia study has politicians here focussed on housing affordability, but whether anything will actually change on that front is, sadly, pretty doubtful. In the end it comes down to actions by Councils.
The New Zealand dollar starts today virtually unchanged at 83.7 USc, 79.6 AUc, and the TWI is at 75.3.