ASIAN markets have been struggling to keep up with the likes of European and US indices, which have continued to mark new highs for 2009. The Japanese Nikkei has failed around the 10,500 level a few times between July and October but its weakness could provide a buying opportunity ahead of the seasonal rally higher into year end. Capital Spreads is quoting a price of 9,560-9,580 for December Nikkei.<br /><br />United Utilities reports its figures on Wednesday, and there are a few reasons why it is a compelling buy: a yield over 6 per cent, a defensive play, and bid speculation surrounding it and others in its sector. ETX Capital is currently quoting 472.85/475.15.<br /><br />Rio Tinto has had a good 12 months, rising from its lows of below 1,000p in December last year to highs of 3,335p last week. However, the stock is now meeting long-term support and resistance levels and has experienced strong sell-offs each time it has approached this level over the past week. Short term technical traders may believe it is time to short Rio around the 3,300 level, looking for a pullback. ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 3253.7p-3261.3p.<br /><br />Monday’s rise by the UK stock market clawed back a major chunk of last week’s losses, with the FSTE 100 once again comfortably ahead of the 5,300 level. Some traders speculate that its recovery is still far from over and they identify the 5,600 highs from September 2008 as the next big target if we see a Christmas rally. IG Index are quoting 5360/5362. <br /><br />Elsewhere, BT Group’s recovery seems to be in place. It has cut costs, its Global Services division is showing signs of turning around and a dividend increase is expected. ETX Capital quotes 148.66 149.04<br /><br />Soft drinks manufacturer Britvic’s full-year figures tomorrow are expected to be positive. Analysts anticipate sales will meet expectations and business could also be boosted during the Christmas period. The stock was trading at around 380p yesterday, but can it head back towards its 52-week high of 400.9, posted on Wednesday of last week? Spreadex has a rolling spread of 379p-381.1p.