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Financial Focus

Following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director of its executive board, the IMF will look for nominations from member countries to replace him. Officials from Europe argue that the tradition of providing the MD should continue given the difficulties facing the Eurozone economies.

THE BANK of Japan kept monetary policy steady today, signalling that Thursday’s news of a much larger-than-expected economic slump in the first quarter did not change its view that growth will resume late this year. In a surprise move, BoJ deputy governor Kiyohiko Nishimura dropped his proposal to loosen policy further with an expansion of the central bank’s asset-buying scheme.

LINKEDIN shares surged during their first day of trading, racing to more than 170% cent above the float price of $45, before closing 109.4 per cent higher at $94.25. The stock hit a peak of $122.70, bringing back memories of the dot.com boom of the late 1990s. LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman made $5.2m selling less than�one percent of his shares.

The Eurozone bailout funds will issue another 3-5bn in bonds in the coming weeks, to help fund Portugal and Ireland’s multi-billion rescue funding packages, the EU said yesterday.

MARKETS:

US stocks rose yesterday after official figures showed jobless claims declined by 29,000 to 409,000 in the week ended May 14th and as LinkedIn surged on its first day of trading after its initial public offering.

GAINS in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index overnight trimmed its weekly drop to 0.9%, its third consecutive weekly decline. Analysts feel that the market has become oversold over the past three weeks, and investors have started to come back to buy back cheaper stocks.

EUROPEAN stocks are set to rise today, adding to their two-day tentative recovery rally as a weaker US dollar lifted investors’ appetite for risky assets such as commodities and equities, but weak US macro data weighed on the market’s potential for further gains.

CURRENCIES:

THE YEN traded at 117.24 per euro yesterday, the weakest since May 6th. Japan’s currency also extended a weekly loss against all of its major counterparts after its Prime Minister said he expects the central bank to maintain a flexible monetary stance.

ENERGY:

OIL for June delivery rose to $99.03 a barrel in electronic trading in New York, although futures have declined 0.6% this week.

COMMODITIES:

CHINA overtook India to become the largest market for gold bars and coins in the 2011 first quarter, as rising inflation drove a surge in bullion investment. Chinese investors bought 93.5 tonnes of gold in the form of coins, bars and medallions in the first quarter, a 55% quarterly increase and more than double the level a year earlier. ZINC for three-month delivery climbed 1.2% a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, rebounding from yesterday’s 2.4% slump. Nickel advanced 1.3% to $23,850 a ton, after a 4.5% tumble yesterday.

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