The relatively calm foreign exchange market and equity market in Asia ended abruptly in Europe. It is difficult to find the culprit, other than position squaring in thin markets, but the euro has come off a cent, dragging the franc. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained more than 0.5%, while European bourses are broadly lower, with the Dow Jones Stoxcx 600 off 0.3% near midday in London, led by utilities and financials. Fixed income markets are subdued. Italy's bond auction was adequately received, especially holiday conditions. There have been a few developments to note. First Japan's data was disappointing and this can only bolster the new government's attempt to stimulate the economy both monetarily and fiscally. Worker cash earnings fell a whopping 1.1% in November, nearly three times larger than the consensus. This may have been a factor behind the poor retail sales, which were flat. The consensus had expected a 0.4% increase. Weak incomes and domestic demand may have, in turn, weighed on output. In November, industrial production fell 1.7%, more than three times the decline expected.