Asian markets mixed as investors digest private inquiries into factory activity

An hour ago

Hang Seng index weighed down by tech stocks; Hang Seng Tech Slides 2%

The Hang Seng index led losses in Asia on Tuesday, weighed down mainly by tech stocks.

While the index itself was down just 0.99%, the more tech-focused Hang Seng Tech index fell 2.5%.

The biggest loser in the HSI was e-commerce company, which saw its share price drop nearly 7%.

On Monday, the South China Morning Post reported that the company was launching a 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) grant campaign in early March to compete with rival PDD Holdings, owner of budget shopping app Pinduoduo.

Other notable losers on the Hang Seng Index include content technology company Kuaishou and multimedia giant Tencent, whose share prices fell 5.84% and 3.13% respectively.

—Lim Hui Jie

An hour ago

Singapore’s digital banks vie for market share with more incentives, but is it sustainable?

Singapore’s new digital retail banks offer lower fees, more incentives and remove minimum account balances to win over traditional bank customers. But how viable is it in the long term?

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Singapore’s digital retail banks are offering more incentives, lower fees and the removal of minimum account balances as they compete with established traditional banks such as DBS, OCBC and UOB in a largely banked market.

Trust Bank, a partnership between Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group, is handing out free grocery vouchers while Grab-Singtel’s GXS Bank has waived some fees.

But industry watchers question whether it’s sustainable in the long run.

“These are great returns, but there’s no way it’s going to be sustainable,” said Zennon Kapron, founder and director of research and consulting firm Kapronasia, in an interview with CNBC. “It has to be subsidized somehow,” he added.

Learn more here.

—Sheila Chiang

An hour ago

Investment opportunities present in South America and African partners, according to BHP

Australia’s largest mining company BHP has signaled the presence of investment opportunities with South American and African partners, despite falling profits and revenues.

“There are a number of countries in South America and African countries for that matter, aggressively seeking international capital, who have approached us and others I’m sure are trying to lure us into the countries to invest more and they offer attractive tax terms,” ​​BHP CEO Mike Henry told CNBC, without revealing specific names.

Henry added that BHP was also closely monitoring the discussion of the mining royalty bill in Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, while also looking for growth opportunities there.

—Lee Ying Shan

4 hours ago

BHP cuts its dividend by 40% after a fall of almost a third in its profits

Mining giant BHP cut its dividend by 40% after announcing lower profits and revenue for its June-December 2022 half-year.

Dividends for the six months were 90 cents US, down from $1.50 a year ago.

In an earnings release, BHP said revenue fell 16% on an annualized basis from $30.5 billion to $25.7 billion, while profit was $6.5 billion. billion, down 32% from the $9.7 billion in the same period a year ago.

However, CEO Mike Henry said the company was “positive” about the outlook for demand.

“We expect domestic demand in China and India to provide stabilizing counterweights to the ongoing slowdown in global trade and the economies of the United States, Japan and Europe,” Henry said.

Shares of BHP Group in Australia were trading down 1.9% after the announcement.

—Lim Hui Jie

4 hours ago

Japan’s Jibun Bank Flash Purchasing Managers Index drops

The Jibun Bank Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell further into contractionary territory to 47.4 in February, after registering 48.9 in January, according to a statement.

Meanwhile, stronger service-sector growth was seen in the economy, with a reading of 53.6 in February, an increase from 52.3 in January.

New orders and production have fallen the most in just over 2.5 years, said Andrew Harker, chief economics officer at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

– Jihye Lee

4 hours ago

Australia’s central bank reiterates Lowe’s hawkish remarks

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s February meeting, when it raised its key rate by 25 basis points, showed that a pause in its hikes was not an option.

Members had debated between a 25 basis point and 50 basis point hike – the latter due to concerns over “incoming price and wage data exceeding expectations,” the statement said.

Arguments for raising its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points acknowledged the need to balance “more supply and demand in the economy”, while noting that inflation should reach its peak, he said.

The central bank’s board “agreed that further interest rate increases are likely to be needed over the coming months to ensure that inflation returns to target and that the current period of high inflation does not either only temporarily”, according to the minutes.

– Jihye Lee

4 hours ago

CNBC Pro: Nvidia vs TSMC: Wall Street pros name their favorite stock as chip battle heats up

Both Nvidia and TSMC have been in the news for the past few weeks, albeit for different reasons. What’s next for two of Wall Street’s favorite chip stocks?

Pro subscribers can learn more here.

— Zavier Ong

4 hours ago

Australian private factory activity falls for fifth consecutive month in February

Australian private sector output fell for a fifth consecutive month in February, but at its slowest pace since October 2022.

According to data from Juno Bank, the composite purchasing managers’ index came in at 49.2 in February, higher than the 48.5 recorded in January.

A PMI above 50 indicates expansion while an index below 50 signals contraction in growth.

The bank noted that lower demand for Australian goods and services led to an overall drop in business activity, although the rate of decline was marginal.

He also said a further deterioration in demand was affecting overall business activity, with companies citing higher interest rates and economic uncertainties as reasons dampening demand.

Foreign demand, however, rose on better manufacturing export orders in February, while hiring activity continued at a “solid pace” as businesses remained optimistic and price pressures decreasing.

—Lim Hui Jie

3 hours ago

CNBC Pro: ‘Insure against the worst’: Goldman picks stocks for soft — and hard — economic landing

Investors are nervous after US stocks have fallen for three straight weeks, signaling the possibility of higher interest rates for longer than expected.

Despite this difficult environment, Goldman Sachs remains optimistic and expects a “soft landing” for the US economy.

Nonetheless, the investment bank advised its clients, “Expect the best (soft landing) but insure against the worst (hard landing),” in a note published Feb. 17.

The investment bank has named a number of stocks it believes will benefit from each scenario.

CNBC Pro subscribers can learn more here.

—Ganesh Rao

Sun Feb 19 2023 7:13 PM EST

Week ahead: FOMC minutes, RBA, Bank of Korea, Xi speech

Here are the main events that investors in the Asia-Pacific region will be watching this week.

The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its last meeting which ends February 1 later this week.

On Monday, China will publish its prime rates on 1-year and 5-year loans for February. Malaysia will release its trade data later today.

On Tuesday, private polls will release readings of Australia’s and Japan’s Purchasing Managers’ Indexes. The United States will also release its PMI and New Zealand is expected to release its producer price index for the fourth quarter.

Investors will also be closely watching the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest rate decision meeting.

Japan will also release its producer price index on Wednesday. Australia’s composite leading index for January and the national wage price index for the fourth quarter will also be released that day.

New Zealand will also release its January trade balance on Wednesday.

The Bank of Korea will announce its rate decision on Thursday morning. Economists polled by Reuters expect the central bank to pause and leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged. Singapore’s consumer price index for January will also be released.

According to Reuters, Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a “peace speech” on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

—Jihye Lee

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