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Mar 29, 2018

Asia, Europe and U.S.Stock Markets Report on March 29,2018.


Dollar, technology stocks, trade and earnings in focus

Cheang Ming

Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Thursday, as several regional markets shrugged off weakness seen overnight on Wall Street.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 0.61 percent, or 127.77 points, at 21,159.08 after rebounding late in the day. The index had dipped below the flat line in the afternoon after trading more than 1 percent higher early in the session.
The broader Topix retraced earlier gains to edge higher by 0.26 percent as consumer stocks recorded overall gains.
Despite the broader gains, the pharmaceuticals sector declined as shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical dropped 7.45 percent. The Japanese company said Wednesday that it was at "a preliminary and exploratory stage" regarding a possible bid for U.K. drugmaker Shire.

127.77 0.61%
HSI HSI 30093.38
70.85 0.24%
ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 5759.40
-30.10 -0.52%
SHANGHAI Shanghai 3160.93
38.64 1.24%
KOSPI KOSPI Index 2436.37
17.08 0.71%
CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 8542.70
-9.31 -0.11%
Elsewhere, the Kospi tacked on 0.71 percent to end at 2,436.37 as losses in automakers and shipmakers were offset by gains in steelmakers and banks. Large cap Samsung Electronics rose 0.7 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.36 percent by 3:34 p.m. HK/SIN.
The technology sector remained under pressure before the market close, lagging the broader index. By 3:34 p.m. HK/SIN, heavyweight Tencent traded flat and Apple supplier AAC Technologies was down 0.56 percent after Apple declined in U.S. trade amid a sell-off seen in tech names.
On the mainland, the Shanghai composite rose 1.24 percent to close at 3,160.93 and the smaller Shenzhen composite added 0.98 percent to finish at 1,830.09. The large cap CSI 300 index advanced 1.35 percent as mainland banks and insurers notched gains.
Down Under, the ASX 200 shed 0.52 percent to close at 5,759.40, paring slim gains seen earlier in the morning. The materials sector and gold producers lagged the broader market, declining 1.1 percent and 1.87 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan was up 0.2 percent by 3:36 p.m. HK/SIN.
Markets in India were closed on Thursday.

Tech, trade and North Korea

U.S. technology stocks fell on Wednesday, with Amazon, Netflix and Apple losing 4.4 percent, 5 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. The declines saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite close down 0.85 percent.
Technology shares stumbled earlier in the week, bringing an end to a brief rally in markets linked to an apparent easing in trade tensions.
Trade issues also continued to simmer as global markets watched for developments in U.S.-China trade ties after President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum earlier this month that could put tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods.
China was still weighing the possibility of imposing curbs on U.S. soybean imports, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Meanwhile, U.S. government debt yields slipped as investors turned to traditionally safer assets. That yield on the 10-year Treasury note stood at 2.78 percent on Thursday after touching its lowest levels in seven weeks in the last session. (Bond yields move inversely to their prices.)
"Uncertainty about trade discussions and end-quarter buying supported fixed income across the board," said ANZ Research analysts in a morning note.
Investors also took note of developments ahead of potential talks between the U.S. and North Korea after China confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks.
China said on Wednesday that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize, although the latter has not publicly commented on the matter.
In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against six peers, stood at 89.980 at 2:46 p.m. HK/SIN, slipping from a one-week high touched overnight.
Against the yen, the greenback pared some of its overnight gains to trade at 106.66, compared to a high of 106.92 seen earlier. The dollar traded at levels around the 105 handle at the beginning of the week.
The moves in the yen come as month-end, quarter-end, as well as year-end for many Japanese corporates flows were also figuring in foreign exchange moves, Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, said in a note.
On the data front, retail sales in Japan increased 1.6 percent in February compared to one year ago, slightly missing a forecast of a 1.7 percent rise, Reuters reported.


technology stocks remain under focus

Silvia Amaro

Stocks in Europe finished higher Thursday afternoon, on the last trading day of the quarter, with a rally in the autos sector helping to boost investor sentiment.

FTSE FTSE 7056.61
11.87 0.17% 900189038
DAX DAX 12096.73
156.02 1.31% 115040355
CAC CAC 5167.30
36.86 0.72% 95239372
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.6 percent provisionally with most sectors finishing in positive territory. For the whole quarter, the benchmark still finished lower by 5 percent after steep falls earlier in the year.
Autos were the top gainers Thursday, driven higher by Renault. The car maker's shares were up by 6 percent following a media report that the company could merge with Nissan. The shares traded close to a 10-year high earlier on the news, but the firm has declined to comment on the report.
Electrocomponents was also among the top performers after a rating upgrade. Furthermore, Swiss Re rose 2 percent after a report that the Japanese group SoftBank is looking at buying a 25 percent stake in the reinsurer.
U.S. stocks traded higher Thursday, as the technology sector tried to curb steep declines seen in recent sessions.

More corporate news and data

In other corporate news, Deutsche Bank Chief John Cryan sent a letter to its employees vowing full commitment to the bank after reports that he could soon be sacked.
In terms of data, German unemployment figures reached a record low in March at 5.3 percent, according to new data. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s current account deficit was £18.4 billion in the last quarter of 2017, lower than what analysts had expected.
Earlier, the latest Nationwide housing prices in the U.K. showed a drop of 0.2 percent month-on-month in March, below the consensus.

Stocks rally more than 1%, paring losses for the first quarter

Fred Imbert, Alexandra Gibbs

U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday, the last trading day of the month and the quarter, as the technology sector curbed steep declines seen in recent sessions.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 450 points, with Apple among the best-performing stocks in the index. The S&P 500 gained 2 percent, with tech rising 3 percent. The Nasdaq composite advanced 2.3 percent, with Microsoft jumping 2.8 percent.
Transports also rose more than 2 percent, but were still deep in correction territory.
Shares of Facebook rose 5 percent, while Apple, Netflix and Alphabet also traded higher. Microsoft rose after the company announced a major reorganization.
However, the S&P 500 technology sector was down 6 percent entering Thursday's session following a slew of negative news for some of the key companies in the space. Last week, reports emerged alleging that Cambridge Analytica, an analytics company, had gathered data from 50 million Facebook profiles without users' permission.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City. Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City.
While Facebook have since come out to apologize and try to rectify the matter, concerns remain over data use.
In the latest surrounding the debacle, Facebook unveiled new tools on Wednesday designed to make it easier for users to look at and access the data that the social media giant has on each user. The move is also an effort to regain trust with Facebook members, following the data scandal. For the month, Facebook shares are down 14.2 percent through Wednesday.
Sticking with the space, shares of Amazon tumbled Wednesday after news emerged that President Donald Trump reportedly wanted to take on the e-commerce giant, in regards to its tax treatment.
Trump then tweeted on Thursday morning: "Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!"

Amazon's stock slumped on the back of the tweet before trading 1.5 percent higher.
"The hard knocks keep coming for the S&P 500 Technology sector," said Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, in a note. "After leading the stock market for most of 2017, the S&P 500 Tech sector has underperformed the broad index and all of the other 10 sectors in recent weeks."
But Yardeni says investors should not give up entirely on the sector. "When today's dour headlines fade away, we believe the amazing innovations that fostered last year's optimism about the Tech sector will recapture investors' imaginations."
Thursday also marked the last trading day for March and the first quarter of 2018. U.S. markets will be closed on Friday due to the Good Friday holiday.
Equities have had a volatile quarter to start off 2018. The major averages reached record highs in January before falling into correction. Concerns that rising inflation would lead to tighter monetary policy sent stocks lower in February before they recovered slightly.
In March, however, worries that the U.S. could spark a trade war with China along with downside pressure in tech kept Wall Street on its toes. The Dow and S&P 500 were on track to snap nine-quarter winning streaks, while the Nasdaq was set to rise for the seventh straight quarter.
"There's still a lot of uncertainty," said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. "We had fear of missing out in January and now we have fear of getting caught on the wrong side of the market."

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