The Nikkei 225 reached a 15-year high at 18,264 following positive trade balance data and yesterday’s FOMC minutes. Japanese exports rose 17% year over year helped by a weaker Yen and a more accommodative policy. Moreover, equities received an additional boost by Fed officials’ dovish comments on US rate policy, which implied that an early interest rate hike might cause more harm than good the US economy and beyond.
Meanwhile, the Euro dipped as low as 0.21% to 1.1356, following reports that Germany has rejected Greece’s loan extension request. The announcement also sent Greek bond yields trending higher again, pushing the 10-year yield back to 9.76%.

US Markets
Mixed results highlighted the beginning of the US session. Weekly jobless claims came in at 283,000, below the expected 293,000, meanwhile the Philly Fed Manufacturing index contracted to 5.2 this month versus analysts’ estimates which, had predicted a rise to 9.3.