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Trader Talk: An Analysis of the Markets

European markets are called to open higher after Asian stocks headed for their highest close this year. The rally was caused by China’s premier who said policy will be fine-tuned as needed to support the economy. China’s Premier Li Keqiang said the government will adjust policy to help the real economy, according to a statement on the government’s website May 23.

Russian stocks rose with Ukrainian billionaire Petro Poroshenko set to win the presidency, after President Vladimir Putin said Russia will work with Ukraine’s elected leader. Poroshenko received 54.26% of yesterday’s vote with 20.42% of ballots counted, according to Ukraine’s central electoral commission in Kiev, set to gain the simple majority needed to avoid a runoff. Conciliatory remarks by Putin on Ukraine have eased concern that separatist violence in the country’s east will lead to tougher U.S. and European penalties, buoying Russian assets. Russia will work with the president voted in on May 25, even though the poll won’t meet international standards, Putin said on May 23.

As Mario Draghi secludes himself with Europe’s top minds in central banking this week he won’t be able to escape one question: What’s next?

After all but promising that he’ll ease monetary policy in June, the European Central Bank president must now manage market expectations as banks from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Societe Generale SA speculate whether he’ll go further and deploy large-scale asset purchases in coming months. Draghi late yesterday opened the first ECB Forum, a gathering of policy makers and academics to be held annually in the hills northwest of Lisbon. What Draghi says in two appearances today and tomorrow may offer clues on how he plans to overcome the stubbornly-low inflation that’s threatening the euro area’s return to economic health. Officials have said they’re working on a package of possible measures for the June policy meeting, including interest-rate cuts and liquidity injections and are holding out the prospect of quantitative easing as a more-powerful option.

In corporate news, Sony Corp. took steps toward selling PlayStation gaming consoles in China as Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai seeks to tap players in the world’s largest market and help rebound from a projected sixth loss in seven years. Sony agreed to form two ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) Co., owner of the Oriental Pearl Tower, to start making and selling PlayStation consoles after China lifted a 13-year ban on sales of the machines. Sony will have a 70% stake in one venture and 49% in the other, according to a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Apple Inc., following a jury verdict that Samsung Electronics Co. infringed three of its patents, is seeking a U.S. sales ban on some older models of the South Korean company’s smartphones. Apple, which on May 2 won $120 million of the $2.2 billion it sought, identified nine devices it wants barred in a May 23 filing with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.

The Calamatta Cuschieri Traders Blog is available daily on CC WebTrader. Other market coverage including coverage of the International Bond Markets is also available.

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