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If you thought a top member of the Trump administration being scrutinised for previously undisclosed contact with a Russian official was old news, best check again.

Attorney-general Jeff Sessions failed to disclose during his confirmation hearings in January that he twice met the Russian ambassador while acting as a close adviser to Donald Trump during last year’s presidential campaign. The meetings occurred as Russian officials were mounting an increasingly aggressive effort to interfere with the US election in a bid to aid Mr Trump’s chances of winning, US intelligence agencies concluded this year.

Asia Pacific stock markets have focused mainly on renewed expectations the US Federal Reserve could raise rates by 25 basis points at its March meeting. In Thursday afternoon trading Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 closed up 1.3 per cent, while Tokyo’s Topix index is currently 0.8 per cent higher heading into the close and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is up 0.5 per cent.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open flat in London, however, while in New York the S&P 500 is expected to start the day down 0.1 per cent.

Corporate earnings reports out today include GAM, Hastings Group, Cobham, Capita and Convatec.

The economic calendar for Thursday arrives with a whiff of brisk mountain air (all times London):

  • 06.45: Switzerland Q4 GDP
  • 07.00: Germany import prices
  • 08.00: Spain Q4 GDP (final)
  • 08.15: Switzerland retail sales
  • 10.00: Eurozone consumer and producer price inflation
  • 10.15: Norway central bank governor Oystein Olsen speaks
  • 12.00: Ukraine interest rates decision
  • 15.00: Denmark foreign exchange reserves

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