US economic data on Tuesday were mixed. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices increased 5.5 percent in November from a year ago, the biggest gain since August 2006. However, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index plunged to 58.6 in January from 66.7 in December.
The latest Japanese economic data have also been mixed. A report on Tuesday showed that the small business confidence index increased to 44.3 in January from 43.8 in December. A report on Wednesday showed that retail sales rose 0.4 percent in December from a year earlier, slowing from a 1.2 percent rise in November.
Meanwhile, Germany is continuing to provide positive data. GfK reported on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index for Germany will rise to 5.8 in February from 5.7 in January.
Also on Tuesday, India's central bank cut interest rates for the first time in nine months. The Reserve Bank of India lowered its benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75 percent. It also cut its cash reserve ratio by 25 basis points to 4.0 per cent.