Markets back on bullish tone after weeks of uncertainty After a few weeks of uncertainty and hand wringing over high oil prices and the state of US consumer appetites, it looks like stock markets are back to their bullish selves. The Hang Seng Index managed to ring the 20,000 bell again last week, and given the strong ending to the week and appetite for new shares, buyers have more money to spend. Oil prices are expected to soften after Iran last week released 15 captive British sailors and marines (below). While any decline in prices is good for profits at most companies, New York crude futures were still near the US$63 per barrel mark before the long weekend, meaning that oil remains a worrisome factor. Robust demand for share offerings in marketing mode bode well for the market in general, at least in the short term. The retail offering of Country Garden Holdings, a mainland property developer hoping to raise as much as HK$12.9 billion, is more than 30 times oversubscribed and brokers have received margin orders upwards of HK$50 billion. Country Garden is busy telling its story to investors as it does its road show this week. Simcere Pharmaceuticals, a Nanjing-based maker of cancer and cardiovascular drugs, will begin the road show for its planned US$150 million listing on the New York Stock Exchange. China Molybdenum, formerly known as Luoyang Luanchuan Molybdenum, is expected to launch its listing road show late this week. The mainland's largest producer of the metal in terms of annual ore-mining capacity is hoping to raise US$800 million. Mainland data to watch After shaking off last Thursday's bank reserve-ratio rise, investors in mainland markets will have some important data to mull this week. March trade figures are coming out today with money and credit information also due in the early part of the week. The greatest risk to markets may be additional monetary tightening through higher interest rates if the data shows the economy is still galloping ahead without restraint. Elsewhere in Asia, monetary policy announcements are due from Singapore and Japan today, but no major changes are expected. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will be travelling to South Korea tomorrow and Wednesday, and then he'll be going to Japan for the rest of the week, the first time in seven years that a Chinese prime minister has visited Japan. Mr Wen's visit to Japan is expected to bring an agreement on joint gas exploration in the East China Sea. Foreign ministers from the two countries met on the sidelines of a meeting in India last week, paving the way to solve an issue that has already taken six rounds of ministerial talks. Japan has accused China of sucking undersea resources from the Japanese side of the median line. Earnings season ending Earnings season is beginning to wind down, with many companies having already announced their results for last year. However, there are a few more in the pipeline this week, including China Communications Construction and Shenzhen Investment tomorrow. On Wednesday, Geely Auto, Great Eagle Holdings, Ping An Insurance (Group) and Sun Hung Kai Co will all announce their results. Thursday will bring China Merchants Holdings (International), GZI Reit and Mengniu Dairy, with Dalian Port and Guangdong Investment reporting on Friday.