Search This Blog

Translate

Search Tool




Asian Markets Closing Report on Tuesday 11, August 2020.

Asia Pacific markets mostly up taking cues from Wall Street

Saheli Roy Choudhury



A Thai investor checks an electronic board showing stock prices at Asia Plus Securities amid Coronavirus threats in Bangkok.
A Thai investor checks an electronic board showing stock prices at Asia Plus Securities amid Coronavirus threats in Bangkok.
Amphol Thongmueangluang | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

Asia Pacific markets mostly rose on Tuesday, following gains on Wall Street overnight as investors remain unfazed by China’s retaliatory actions against the United States. But Chinese mainland markets gave up gains in the afternoon.
The Nikkei 225 advanced 1.88% to 22,750.24 and the Topix index was up 2.54% at 1,585.96 as the Japanese market returned to trading following a public holiday on Monday.
South Korea’s Kospi index gained 1.35% to 2,418.67 while Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 advanced 0.47% to 6,138.70 where the heavily-weighted financials subindex rose 1.14%.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 1.92% in late-afternoon trade but the new technology index slid 1.01%. 
Chinese mainland shares gave up earlier gains to finish lower: The Shanghai composite fell 1.15% to 3,340.29, the Shenzhen component was lower by 1.4% to 13,466.27 and the Shenzhen composite lost 1.49% to 2,243.45.
In economic news, Singapore’s GDP contracted by 42.9% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter. That sent the Southeast Asian country into a technical recession as large parts of the economy were shut down in early April to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Singapore’s Straits Times index gave up earlier gains to trade down 0.44% as of 3:31 p.m. HK/SIN.
“Headline risks dominate amid lingering US fiscal uncertainties and rising US-China tensions,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy for Asia and Oceania treasury department at Mizuho Bank, said in a note.
“But markets appear to have a rather low bar in terms of expectations,” he added. 

China responds to US sanctions

The session in Asia followed Monday gains on Wall Street where the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 350 points in regular trading, posting its seventh positive session in a row — its longest winning streak since September 2019. The S&P 500 gained 0.2%, sitting just 0.9% below its record high set in February. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq underperformed with a 0.4% loss as investors rotated out of some of the high-fliers.
Reports said China imposed sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens that included Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey. The move from Beijing followed after Washington last week said it will impose sanctions on 11 individuals including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for her role in overseeing and “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.”
The U.S. lawmakers sanctioned by Beijing have been vocal critics of a new security law that China imposed on Hong Kong, strengthening its hold over the city.
Varathan explained that an “all out confrontation” was averted as China abstained from any sanction aimed at White House officials. 
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22750.24420.301.88
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24906.37528.942.17
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006138.7028.500.47
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3340.29-38.96-1.15
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2418.6732.291.35
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008958.82121.321.37
China’s action on Monday “did little to shake risk sentiment, with any initial nervousness caused by the move quickly unwound,” said Felicity Emmett from ANZ Research in a morning note.
“More pertinent is the meeting at the end of the week between key US and Chinese trade officials on a progress report on the phase 1 trade deal, though here the strong sense is that the Trump administration won’t want to jeopardise the deal this side of the election for fear of alienating the important mid-West farming constituency,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign-exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank, added in a morning note.
U.S. stock futures pointed to gains when markets open on Tuesday.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, traded at 93.655 at 3:32 p.m. HK/SIN, coming off an earlier high around 93.724. The Japanese yen, also a safe-haven currency, changed hands at 106.17 against the dollar, weakening fractionally from levels near 105.30 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose 0.29% to $0.7170.
Oil prices gained Tuesday during Asian trading hours. U.S. crude was up 0.67% at $42.22 per barrel while global benchmark Brent added 0.4% to $45.17. 

______________________________________________________

On Monday 10, August 2020

Asia Pacific markets trade mostly higher but investors remain cautious over U.S.-China tensions

Saheli Roy Choudhury



Vehicles are reflected in a window as electronic boards display stock information at the Australian Securities Exchange, operated by ASX.
Vehicles are reflected in a window as electronic boards display stock information at the Australian Securities Exchange, operated by ASX.
Lisa Maree | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Asia Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Monday but investors remained cautious over heightened U.S.-China tensions in recent weeks.
South Korea’s Kospi index gained 1.43% as shares of automakers surged. Hyundai Motor added 14.97% while Kia Motors gained 9.47%.
Hyundai shares jumped as the automaker said three new battery electric vehicle models will be launched over the next four years, with more to follow, under its Ioniq brand. Hyundai said it plans to become the world’s third-largest electric vehicle maker by 2025.
Some of the big technology names also advanced. Samsung Electronics shares rose 0.7%, trimming some of its earlier gains of around 1.39%. SK Hynix shares rose 0.74% while LG Electronics gained 10.88%.
In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 rose 1.76% to 6,110.20, with all sectors finishing higher. The heavily weighted financials subindex was up 2.6% as major banks advanced.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7167, rising from an earlier low around $0.7145.
Australia is tackling a fresh wave of coronavirus outbreak in Victoria state, which accounts for the majority of reported cases and deaths in the country. In an effort to slow the spread of infection, the state has imposed strict lockdown measures limiting people’s movements and closed large parts of the economy.
Chinese mainland markets reversed earlier losses and traded up: The Shanghai composite rose 1.19%, the Shenzhen component index gained 0.49% and the Shenzhen composite was up 0.64%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index retraced earlier losses of more than 1% to trade down 0.2%. The technology-focused Hang Seng Tech Index fell 2.31%.
Markets in Japan are closed Monday for a public holiday. 

U.S.-China tensions

“The bigger question for markets is whether these actions jeopardise the US-China trade talks on August 15 and markets will be looking closely for any Chinese retaliation,” Tapas Strickland, director for economics and markets at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a Monday morning note.
Officials from both sides are set to review the implementation of their phase one trade deal and are likely to air mutual grievances during an Aug. 15 video conference, Reuters reported last week, citing two sources familiar with the plans.
“The running assumption in markets has been President Trump needed the phase one deal to succeed (as much as China) this side of the November elections to secure the mid-West. At the same time President Trump is running a hard China line into the elections,” Strickland added.
U.S. futures traded mixed early Monday morning ET after the president signed several executive orders aimed at extending coronavirus relief — infection cases in the U.S. topped 5 million.
The U.S. dollar traded at 93.309 against a basket of its peers, climbing from levels around 92.800 in the previous week but off an earlier high of 93.481.
Oil prices rose Monday during Asian hours. U.S. crude added 1.26% to $41.74 per barrel while global benchmark Brent was up 0.92% to $44.81. 

______________________________________________________

On Friday 7, August 2020

Asia stocks decline as China-U.S. tensions weigh on sentiment

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mostly lower on Friday as tensions between Beijing and Washington weighed on investor sentiment.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among the region’s major markets, dropping 1.6% to close at 24,531.62. Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in the city tumbled. Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent plunged 5.04% while Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation’s stock in Hong Kong dropped 8.7%.
Mainland Chinese stocks also declined on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.96% to approximately 3,354.04 while the Shenzhen component shed 1.548% to around 13,648.50.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders banning U.S. transactions with Chinese tech firms Tencent and ByteDance. The ban will take effect in 45 days and could attract retaliation from Beijing. The latest development comes as tensions between the two economic powerhouses have heated up in recent weeks.
Elsewhere in the region, the moves were more muted. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.39% to close at 22,329.94 while the Topix index shed 0.2% to end its trading day at 1,546.74. Shares in Australia declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.62% to close at 6,004.80.
South Korea’s Kospi bucked the overall trend regionally as it closed 0.39% higher at 2,351.67.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index fell 0.85%.

Stocks on the move

In corporate news, shares of Korean Air Lines surged 5.52% on Friday. The moves came after the airline reported a net profit in the second quarter on the back of strong cargo demand, according to local news agency Yonhap. The positive earnings report came despite the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the global airline industry.
Japanese game maker Nintendo also saw its stock jump 2.58% on Friday after the firm reported Thursday a 428% surge in profits.

Economic data watch

On the economic data front, data released Friday by China’s General Administration of Customs showed dollar-denominated exports in July rose 7.2% from a year ago. That was far beyond the 0.2% year-on-year decline in China’s dollar-denominated exports expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
Meanwhile, the customs data also showed dollar-denominated imports fell 1.4% from a year ago, against predictions of a 1% year-on-year rise.
Looking ahead, the U.S. jobs report for July is set to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Economists estimate 1.48 million jobs were added in July, down sharply from the 4.8 million in June, according to Dow Jones.

RBA monetary policy statement

The Reserve Bank of Australia said in its monetary policy statement released Friday that the pace of recovery of the Australian economy is “expected to be slower than previously forecast.”
“Generalised uncertainty and deficiency in demand have turned out to be more of a drag on growth than previously thought,” the Australian central bank said, acknowledging that recent measures taken to address the coronavirus spread in the state of Victoria “will further delay the recovery.”
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7211 following the RBA’s monetary policy statement release, having seen an earlier high of $0.7243.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22329.94-88.21-0.39
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24531.62-398.96-1.60
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006004.80-37.40-0.62
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3354.04-32.43-0.96
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2351.679.060.39
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008941.67-69.06-0.77
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.129 after sliding from levels above 93.6 this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.58 per dollar after seeing levels around 106.4 against the greenback earlier in the trading week.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures were down 0.42% to $44.90 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dipped 0.52% to $41.73 per barrel.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap:
  • U.S.: July jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 6, August 2020

South Korea leads gains in mixed trading day for Asia Pacific stocks

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to monitor tensions between the U.S. and China.
South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.33% to close at 2,342.61 as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor soared 7.84%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.26% to about 3,386.46 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.7% to around 13,863.13.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 0.69% lower at 24,930.58.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.43% to close at 22,418.15 while the Topix index shed 0.31% to end the trading day at 1,549.88.
Shares in Australia edged higher as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.68% to close at 6,042.20.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.41% higher.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’sadministration wants to ban “untrusted” Chinese apps such as TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores. That development followed tensions between Washington and Beijing heating up in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, a range of issues remains unresolved among lawmakers stateside in coronavirus relief negotiations, with the White House threatening to act on its own if it fails to reach a deal with Democrats.
On the earnings front, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor reported that first-quarter net income attributable to the company plunged 74.3% from last year. Shares of Toyota jumped 2.29% on Thursday.
Shares of Singapore bank DBS Group rose 2.87% on Thursday after the firm reported a second-quarter net profit that beat estimates despite falling about 22% from last year. DBS said its profit for the second quarter came in at 1.25 billion Singapore dollars ($912.9 million). That compared against an average estimate of 1.19 billion Singapore dollars, according to Refinitiv data. 
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22418.15-96.70-0.43
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24930.58-171.96-0.69
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006042.2040.900.68
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3386.468.900.26
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2342.6130.751.33
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1009007.4719.690.22
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.851 in a volatile trading week that has seen it decline from levels above 93.6.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.58 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 105.37 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7192 following its rise from levels below $0.715 this week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures were marginally lower at $45.15 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.66% to $41.90 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

4Hong Kong leads losses in mixed trading day for Asia Pacific stocks 

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific traded mixed Thursday afternoon as investors continued to watch tensions between the U.S. and China.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses regionally as it fell 1.63% by the afternoon.
In contrast, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.08% as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor soaring more than 5%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down around 0.4% while the Shenzhen component slipped about 1%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.53% in afternoon trade while the Topix index shed 0.38%.
Shares in Australia edged higher as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.25%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was slightly lower.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’sadministration wants to ban “untrusted” Chinese apps such as TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores. That development followed tensions between Washington and Beijing heating up in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, a range of issues remains unresolved among lawmakers stateside in coronavirus relief negotiations, with the White House threatening to act on its own if it fails to reach a deal with Democrats.
On the earnings front, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor reported that first-quarter net income attributable to the company plunged 74.3% from last year. Shares of Toyota last traded almost 2% higher.
Shares of Singapore bank DBS Group rose about 2% after the firm reported a second-quarter net profit that beat estimates despite falling about 22% from last year. DBS said its profit for the second quarter came in at 1.25 billion Singapore dollars ($912.9 million). That compared against an average estimate of 1.19 billion Singapore dollars, according to Refinitiv data. 
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22418.15-96.70-0.43
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24930.58-171.96-0.69
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006042.2040.900.68
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3386.468.900.26
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2342.6130.751.33
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1009004.3216.540.18
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.757 in a volatile trading week that has seen it decline from levels above 93.6.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.50 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7197 following its rise from levels below $0.715 this week.
Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.27% to $45.29 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were slightly lower at $42.17 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 5, August 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as uncertainty over U.S. coronavirus relief measures lingers

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as uncertainty remains over the state of coronavirus relief stateside.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day. The Shanghai composite was up 0.17% to around 3,377.56 while the Shenzhen component added 0.725% to approximately 13,960.93. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.4%, as of its final hour of trading.
A private survey of China's services sector in July showed a slower expansion as compared to the previous month, according to Reuters. The Caixin/Markit Services Purchasing Manager's Index came in at 54.1, lower than June's reading of 58.4. Still, the July figure was above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
"I don't think this is concerning for the market because what we have seen (it's) just a moderation from the last month," Suresh Tantia, senior investment strategist at Credit Suisse's APAC CIO office, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Wednesday. "If you look the broader trend, the macro data across the board in China has been improving."
"Along with the services PMI, the manufacturing PMI has also been very strong in the last few months. Underlying data such as property sales has been in double digit(s), auto sales have also been growing at double digit(s) in the last few months," Tantia said. "Broadly, the Chinese economy has been recovering from the pandemic and I think that is going to be very positive for the equity market."
Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.4% to close at 2,311.86.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.26% to close at 22,514.85 while the Topix index finished its trading day slightly lower at 1,554.71. The moves came after Japanese stocks saw two solid days of gains earlier this week.
Meanwhile in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.6% lower at 6,001.30.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.6%.
Investor focus on Wednesday was likely on coronavirus deal negotiations stateside, as lawmakers remain divided over issues such as unemployment insurance.
"Despite continuing negotiations, talks so far have yet to yield much in the way of progress," Tapas Strickland, director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note. Still, Strickland said markets "sniff a deal" given the proximity of the elections in November.
Meanwhile, senior officials from Beijing and Washington are set to review the phase one trade deal in mid-August, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the plans. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are expected to participate in the meeting, according to Reuters.
The latest development, with the meeting plans first reported by the Wall Street Journal, came as tensions between China and the U.S. have intensified in recent weeks.

Gold prices hold above $2,000 per ounce

Gold prices continued to trade above $2,000 per ounce in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with spot gold last changing hands at $2,031.6313 per ounce. The moves came after gold prices surged to a new record close overnight — settling above $2,000 for the first time.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.065 after an earlier high of 93.245.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.69 per dollar after touching levels around 106.40 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7186 following its bounce from levels below $0.71 earlier this week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.7% to $44.74 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 0.62% to $41.96 per barrel.

— CNBC's Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 4, August 2020

}Hong Kong jumps more than 2% as Asia Pacific stocks mostly rise; Reserve Bank of Australia keeps policy steady

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly rose on Tuesday as the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) kept its policy settings unchanged.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong led gains among the region’s major markets, surging 2.25%, as of its final hour of trading.
Japanese stocks, which led gains among the region’s major markets on Monday, continued to see robust gains on Tuesday. The Nikkei 225 gained 1.7% to close at 22,573.66 while the Topix index advanced 2.14% to end its trading day at 1,555.26.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia surged 1.88% to close at 6,037.60. Australia’s retail sales data for June rose 2.7% month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data released Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was higher than expectations of a 2.4% increase in a Reuters poll.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.29% to close at 2,279.97.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with Shanghai composite gaining 0.11% to about 3,371.69 while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.745% to around 13,860.46.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.54%.
The Australian central bank on Tuesday announced its decision to maintain the current policy settings. That came as social distancing measures have been ramped up in the Australian state of Victoria to contain the coronavirus.
RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a media release announcing the monetary policy decision that the recovery in the Australian economy is “likely to be both uneven and bumpy,” acknowledging that the coronavirus outbreak in Victoria is having a “major effect” on the state’s economy.
Meanwhile, lawmakers stateside remained at an impasse regarding the next coronavirus stimulus package, with the main sticking point continuing to be the federal boost to unemployment assistance.
″“What’s really important … for the Asian economies is Chinese growth and U.S. growth and digging into that a bit deeper, what’s really critical is … consumer-led growth … in both of those markets,” Isaac Poole, chief investment officer at Oreana Financial Services, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.
“That is why the unemployment benefits story … in the U.S. is so critical,” Poole said. “Without it, we’re going to see consumer spending fall off a cliff. That’s going to really dial back the engine of global growth in this recovery.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22573.66378.281.70
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25011.71553.582.26
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006037.60111.501.88
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3371.693.720.11
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2279.9728.931.29
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008935.67174.782.00
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.394 after an earlier high of 93.609.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.92 per dollar after weakening from levels around 105.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.714 after falling below $0.71 yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down around 0.3% to $44.02 per barrel. The U.S. crude futures also dipped 0.27% to $40.90 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 3, August 2020

Japan jumps 2% as Chinese economic data comes in above expectations; HSBC shares in Hong Kong sink

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Monday as U.S.-China tensions continue to heat up.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.24% to close at 22,195.38, while the Topix index advanced 1.78% to end its trading day at 1,522.64. Those moves followed the nearly 3% tumble in Japanese stocks on Friday.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.75% to about 3,367.97 and the Shenzhen component rising 2.395% to around 13,964.56.
A private survey released Monday showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded in July. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index came in at 52.8 for July, above expectations for a reading of 51.3 by economists in a Reuters poll. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those that fall below that figure indicate contraction.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed about 1%, as of its final hour of trading. Hong Kong-listed shares of HSBC sank more than 5% after the bank on Monday reported a 65% plunge in its pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2020.
South Korea’s Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,251.04. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended its trading day below the flatline at 5,926.10.
In Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore fell 1.98% in afternoon trade while Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite index dropped 2.63%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index shed 0.5%.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing likely continued being watched by investors, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump is set to announce “in the coming days” new actions related to Chinese software companies viewed by his administration as a national security threat.
On Friday, Trump told reporters he will act soon to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the U.S., according to NBC News. Microsoft on Sunday confirmed it has held talks to buy TikTok in the U.S. from Chinese tech firm ByteDance.
Mizuho Bank’s Vishnu Varathan wrote in a Monday note that a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft would be a “hollow relief if not a mere distraction.”
“It is certainly not a resolution of growing US-China animosity that may be tick-tocking to a more open conflict,” said Varathan, who is head of economics and strategy at the firm.
“I think the month of August is going to be another volatile month,” OCBC Bank’s Vasu Menon told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday.
Menon, who is executive director of investment strategy, wealth management Singapore at OCBC Bank, cited factors such as U.S.-China tension as well as upcoming economic data releases that are expected to bring a “mix of good news and bad news” as factors behind his view. He added that investors should brace themselves for “very choppy markets.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22195.38485.382.24
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24347.63-247.72-1.01
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005926.10-1.70-0.03
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3367.9757.961.75
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2251.041.670.07
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008735.33-31.00-0.35
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.611 after bouncing from levels below 93 late last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.90 per dollar after weakening sharply from levels below 105 late in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7114 after slipping from levels above $0.72 last week.
Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.83% to $43.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.02% to $39.86 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 31, July 2020

Japan falls nearly 3% after historic U.S. GDP contraction; China's factory activity beats expectations

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Friday following a record contraction in U.S. gross domestic in the second quarter.
Japanese stocks led losses among Asia’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 down 2.82% to close at 21,710 as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group dropped 4.39% while the Topix index ending its trading day at 2.82% to 1,496.06. Shares in Australia also saw sizable losses with the S&P/ASX 200 falling 2.04% to close at 5,927.80.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.71% to about 3,310.01 while the Shenzhen component gained 1.27% to around 13,637.88.
China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July came in above expectations at 51.1, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a reading of 50.7.
″(China’s) the only economy that we think will get back to pre-Covid heights this year,” Sean Taylor, chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at DWS, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Friday. “We are impressed with … the rise in the … Chinese economy. We just have to watch if it’s sustainable.”
Meanwhile, the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.14%, as of its final hour of trading. The Kospi in South Korea shed 0.78% to close at 2,249.37.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.16%.
Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for a holiday on Friday.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21710.00-629.23-2.82
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24595.35-115.24-0.47
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005927.80-123.30-2.04
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3310.0123.180.71
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2249.37-17.64-0.78
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008775.76-118.30-1.33
Data released Thursday by the U.S. government showed GDP dropping 32.9% in the second quarter — the worst drop ever, with the closest previously coming in mid-1921. Still, the data print was not as bad as feared, with economists polled by Dow Jones having expected a 34.7% decline. U.S. weekly jobless claims also came in at 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, roughly in line with estimates.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.552 after declining from levels above 93.8 earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 104.35 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 105.3 against the greenback this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7217 after yesterday’s turbulent trading saw it slide below $0.716.
Oil prices were up in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.65% to $43.22 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.7% to $40.20 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 30, July 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as U.S. Fed keeps rates on hold; Singapore lags as bank shares tumble

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.
Mainland Chinese stocks dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.23% to about 3,286.82 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.668% to around 13,466.85. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.67%, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.26% to close at 22,339.23 while the Topix index dipped 0.62% to end its trading day at 1,539.47. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.17% to close at 2,267.01.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.74% to finish its trading day at 6,051.10.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was fractionally higher.
In a widely expected move, the Fed on Wednesday kept its benchmark overnight lending rate near zero.
“The focus now turns to the September meeting where the expectation is the Fed will provide more forward guidance,” Tapas Strickland,  director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
“I think the setting of policy now is probably is about as good as (the Fed) can do given the uncertainty around the path of the epidemic itself,” Dennis Lockhart, former president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.
“There’s so much uncertainty around the virus, around … the public health question that I think they are in a situation where they really have to wait for a little bit more clarity before they can consider any more policy action,” Lockhart said.
On the economic data front, Japanese retail sales for June declined 1.2% as compared to a year ago, according to a preliminary report by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. That compared against a median market forecast for a 6.5% year-on-year decline, according to Reuters.

Singapore bank shares fall

Shares of Singapore banks tumbled in afternoon trade: DBS Group dropped 3.92% while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation fell 4.49% and United Overseas Bank slipped 3.55% The broader Straits Times index also declined more than 2%.
The moves came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore on Wednesday called on locally-incorporated banks headquartered in Singapore to “moderate” their dividends for fiscal year 2020.
“While the Local Banks’ capital positions are strong, the dividend restrictions are a pre-emptive measure to bolster their resilience and capacity to support lending to businesses and individuals through an uncertain period ahead for our economy,” the Singapore central bank said in a media release.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22339.23-57.88-0.26
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24705.82-177.32-0.71
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006051.1044.700.74
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3286.82-7.73-0.23
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2267.013.850.17
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008900.03-17.82-0.20
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.525 after touching an earlier low of 93.31.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.10 per dollar following its strengthening earlier in the trading week from levels above 105.3 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7131 after seeing an earlier high of $0.719.
Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.8% to $43.40 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.92% to $40.89 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 29, July 2020

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision.
Mainland Chinese stocks led gains regionally, with the Shanghai composite surging 2.06% to about 3,294.55 while the Shenzhen component soared 3.119% to around 13,557.44. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged 0.34% higher, as of its final hour of trading.
In South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.27% higher at 2,263.16. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dipped 0.23% to finish its trading day at 6,006.40.
Japanese stocks lagged their peers in the region’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 down 1.15% to close at 22,397.11 while the Topix index fell 1.28% to end its trading day at 1,549.04.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.13%.
Investor focus was likely on the upcoming rate decision by the Fed, expected to be out sometime on Wednesday stateside.
“The (Federal Open Market Committee) will be the firm focus of market participants over the next 24 hours,” Kim Mundy, an economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.
“We expect that the FOMC will remain dovish and acknowledge that the US economic outlook has deteriorated since the 11 June meeting,” Mundy said. “Since 11 June, there have been more than 2 million new coronavirus cases in the US.  This has slowed re‑opening efforts in some US states and as a result, increased the uncertainty around the pace of the US economic recovery.”
In corporate developments, shares of Japanese automaker Nissan Motor plummeted 10.39% on Wednesday after the company on Tuesday forecast a 470 billion yen loss for the fiscal year 2020. Canon also saw its stock plunging 13.46%, with the moves coming after the company reported its first ever quarterly loss, according to Reuters.

Australia’s Consumer Price Index falls

On the economic data front, Australia’s Consumer Price Index fell 1.9% in the June 2020 quarter, according to data released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics (ABS). ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said in a media release: “This was the largest quarterly fall in the 72 year history of the CPI.”
The ABS attributed the decline in the June quarter to factors such as free child care and a “significant fall” in the price of automotive fuel.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22397.11-260.27-1.15
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24838.7265.960.27
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006006.40-14.10-0.23
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3294.5566.592.06
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2263.166.170.27
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008899.88-41.06-0.46
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.526 — off an earlier high of 93.799.
The Japanese yen traded at 104.96 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 105.60 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7168 following its rise from levels around $0.71 early in the trading week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.62% to $43.49 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 0.51% to $41.25 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 28, July 2020

South Korea leads gains as Asia Pacific stocks mostly rise; shares of Japan autos Nissan and Mitsubishi drop

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Tuesday afternoon trade as gold prices dipped from their record levels.
Shares in South Korea led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Kospi up 1.76% to close at 2,256.99 as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics soared 5.4%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were also higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite gaining 0.71% to around 3,227.96 while the Shenzhen component jumped 1.314% to about 13,147.35. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.69%, as of its final hour of trading.
Over in Japan, stocks lagged the overall region as the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.26% to close at 22,657.38 while the Topix index shed 0.48% to finish its trading day at 1,569.12. Shares of Fujifilm rose 3.1% after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. government awarded the firm a $265 million contract for coronavirus vaccine manufacturing.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.39% to close at 6,020.50. In India, the Nifty 50 was up 1.06% in afternoon trade.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 0.93%.
Gold prices dipped from record levels in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with spot gold last trading at $1,937.2782 after rising to as high as $1,980.5662 earlier.
The situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic likely continued to weigh on investor sentiment. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday unveiled the Republican coronavirus relief plan, which would include relief for jobless Americans, among other provisions. The U.S. currently has the most number of confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Multiple firms also announced Monday the start of late-stage human trials as the race to find a coronavirus vaccine continues.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech said they began their late-stage human trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine on Monday. That announcement by the firms came the same day biotech firm Moderna, also developing a leading vaccine candidate, said it began its late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial.

Japanese automaker shares take a hit

Shares of Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors plummeted 12.64% on Tuesday after the company said Monday that it expects to see a 140 billion yen (about $1.329 billion) loss in operating income for the year ending March 31, 2021.
Mitsubishi’s bet on electric vehicles “hasn’t really taken off,” according to Vivek Vaidya, associate partner at Frost & Sullivan. “This is a company which really needs to make sure that they have the right product strategy in place.”
Vaidya told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday that he expected Mitsubishi to be pulled through by its alliance with Nissan Motor and Renault. He said the latter two firms would “definitely support” Mitsubishi as the alliance has “worked very pragmatically.”
“They don’t really react to short-term things because … in the entire automotive industry it is the survival of the fittest, and the fittest is the one who has the largest capacity, larges access to the vendors, largest access to the customers,” Vaidya said.
Meanwhile, Nissan Motor also saw its stock drop 4.33% on Tuesday following a Nikkei Asian Review report that the firm’s automobile business runs the risk of running out of cash over the next year and a half.
Shares of other Japanese automakers also slipped, with Toyota down 1.5% while Honda shed 1.69%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22657.38-58.47-0.26
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24772.76169.500.69
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006020.50-23.70-0.39
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3227.9622.730.71
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2256.9939.131.76
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008935.1273.670.83

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.784 after touching an earlier low of 93.493.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.50 per dollar following an earlier high of 105.20 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7134 after touching an earlier high of $0.7176.
Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.6% to $43.67 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 0.17% to $41.67 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 27, July 2020

Asia stocks mostly higher as China's June industrial profit soars; gold surges to record

Eustance Huang


Asia markets mostly rose on Monday as investors continued to watch for developments on issues such as the coronavirus pandemic. Gold prices surged to record highs.
Stocks in Taiwan led gains among the region's major markets as the Taiex soared 2.31% to close at 12,588.30, with shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company up nearly 10%. South Korea's Kospi also saw gains as it rose 0.79% to end its trading day at 2,217.86.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.26% to about 3,205.23 while the Shenzhen component added 0.318% to around 12,976.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.35% lower, as of its final hour of trading.
On the economic data front, China's industrial profits for June soared 11.5% year-on-year, according to the country's National Bureau of Statistics.
Japanese stocks were mixed by the end of their trading day, with the Nikkei 225 slipping 0.16% to 22,715.85 while the Topix index edged 0.24% higher to 1,576.69.
The Bank of Japan's Summary of Opinions for its mid-July meeting, released Monday, said the country's economy is expected to "pick up moderately" from the second half of 2020. The central bank warned, however, that the economy is "unlikely to return to the level reached before the outbreak of COVID-19" even in fiscal 2022.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up by 0.34% to close at 6,044.20.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.74%.
Meanwhile, gold prices soared to a new record on Monday during Asian trading hours. Spot goldtraded as high as $1,943.9275 per ounce before paring gains to change hands at around $1,934.29 per ounce. Those levels eclipsed the previous record high price set in September 2011.
Investor attention was likely on lawmakers stateside as they attempt to push forward on another coronavirus stimulus package. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that Republicans have finalized a bill worth about $1 trillion in coronavirus relief funds.
Globally, more than 16 million people have been infected by the coronavirus, with the U.S. accounting for roughly a quarter of that figure, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
U.S.-China tensions, which took center stage last week as mainland Chinese stocks plunged on Friday amid a sharp exchange of words between the two economic powerhouses, also continued to be monitored by investors.
"Intermittent spikes in US‑China tensions are likely to become the norm as the 3 November US Presidential election nears," economists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a morning note.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.947 after slipping from levels above 96 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.47 per dollar after strengthening sharply late last week from levels above 106.5 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7138 following its rise from levels below $0.702 last week.
Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.37% to $43.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.34% to $41.15 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 24, July 2020

China markets extend losses, Shenzhen stocks dive beyond 5% as U.S.-China tensions flare

Weizhen Tan


Mainland Chinese stocks mostly deepened losses by the close, with other Asia Pacific markets also moving lower as U.S.-China tensions worsened on Friday.
In mainland China, the Shanghai composite pared some losses, but still ended the day 3.86% lower at 3,196.77, while the Shenzhen composite tumbled 5% to close at 2,138.36. The Shenzhen component dived 5.31% to close at 12,935.70.
The Chinese yuan, a barometer of Sino-U.S. tensions, looks set for its worst week in two months, according to Reuters. The offshore yuan was last at 7.0224 per dollar, and the onshore yuan was at 7.0166.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index declined 2.51% in the afternoon. Tech stocks fell across the board, with Tencent tumbling 5.57% and Alibaba down 3.16%. Gaming stocks also saw steep losses.
Tensions between U.S. and China took center stage this week. China announced on Friday that it ordered the United States to shut its consulate in Chengdu, following the U.S. demanding the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston.
Preceding that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also slammed China in a speech on Thursday. He said Washington will no longer tolerate Beijing’s attempts to usurp global order.
“For now, US-China conflict risks are poised to reinforce pre-existing negative bias in the Asia session, derived from 1.2%-1.3% drop in Wall St that had predated Pompeo’s remarks,” Mizuho Bank’s Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy, wrote in a note.
He said regarding China’s response to the escalating tensions, that it’s likely to try to keep currency and stock markets stable.
“We expect the PBoC (People’s Bank of China) to double down on CNY (Chinese yuan) stability,” Varathan wrote. “What’s more, this will be complemented by policies that support ‘reasonable’ buoyancy in equity markets, which help boost wider wealth creation, increase access to capital for industry champions (to better position against US), and crucially underpin capital stability.”

Other Asia markets

Other Asia Pacific markets also chalked up losses on Friday afternoon.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 tumbled 1.16% to close at 6,024.00, with losses seen in the heavily weighted financials sector and oil stocks.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.71% to 2,200.44.
Markets in Japan are closed for a holiday on Friday.
Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 1.89%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22751.61-132.61-0.58
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24705.33-557.67-2.21
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006024.00-70.50-1.16
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3196.77-128.34-3.86
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2200.44-15.75-0.71
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008758.44-67.06-0.76
Over in the U.S., a sell-off in tech stocks and worse-than-expected jobless claims also hit sentiment.
Apple fell 4.5% and Microsoft tumbled 4.3%, pushing the broader market lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 353.51 points, or 1.3%, to 26,652.33. The S&P 500 slid 1.2%, or 40.36 points, to 3,235.66, snapping a four-day winning streak. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.2%, or 244.71 points, to 10,461.42.
Apple shares slid after reports surfaced that a number of states investigating the tech giant’s potential violations of a consumer protection law. Apple is facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad and its CEO will face Congress on Monday alongside Big Tech peers.
U.S. weekly jobless claims came in at 1.416 million for last week, marking the 18th straight week in which initial claims totaled more than 1 million. That was worse than the 1.3 million expected by economists in a Dow Jones poll. 

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 94.611, continuing its steady decline this week. It slipped below the 95 level on Thursday.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.25 per dollar, strengthening after wavering between 106 and 107 for most of this week. The Australian dollar slipped below the 0.71 level, last changing hands around 0.7077.
Oil prices dropped in the afternoon after rising earlier during Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures dipped 0.58% to $43.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.72% to $40.78 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 23, July 2020

Asia markets mixed as investors remain cautious over U.S.-China tensions

Saheli Roy Choudhury


Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Thursday with Chinese mainland shares declining and South Korea reporting a decline in second-quarter GDP, largely due to a steep fall in exports.
South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.56% to 2,216.19 as shares of firms like Samsung, LG, Posco, SK Hynix and Hyundai Steel sold off. Still, automakers like Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors traded up 5.06% and 2.51%, respectively. The Kosdaq index finished higher 0.84% at 801.69.
In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 rose 0.32% to 6,094.50. The heavily weighted financials subindex finished up 0.18% while the energy sector added 1.24%. Shares in Taiwan were down 0.48% at 12,413.04 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.54% in late-afternoon trade and India’s Nifty 50 added 0.64%.
Chinese mainland markets were lower: The Shanghai composite fell 0.24% to 3,325.11, the Shenzhen component and the Shenzhen composite closed near flat.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated after the U.S. State Department abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, which drew condemnation from China’s foreign ministry as it warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision.
The session in Asia followed mixed sessions overnight where European shares fell but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 150 points.
“Hopes of more fiscal stimulus in the US and optimism about a vaccine weighed against concerns about escalating US-China tensions overnight,” John Bromhead from ANZ Research wrote in a morning note.
CNBC reported that Republicans are considering extending current unemployment benefits at $400 per month through December. The U.S. is dealing with a wave of unemployment unseen in decades as states shut down their economies to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 15 million people worldwide and killed over 620,000.
Markets in Japan are closed for a public holiday. 
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22751.61-132.61-0.58
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25185.14127.200.51
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006094.5019.400.32
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3325.11-8.05-0.24
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2216.19-12.47-0.56
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008820.176.820.08

South Korea’s GDP

South Korea’s central bank released advanced estimates of the country’s gross domestic product for the three months that ended in June.
Growth declined 3.3% for the quarter compared with the prior three months that ended in March and was down 2.9% from last year, Bank of Korea said. While private consumption rose 1.4% as people spent more on durable goods, exports dropped 16.6% due to declines in motor vehicles as well as coal and petroleum products.
Yonhap News reported that level of growth decline had not been seen in about two decades since 1998.
“The heavy decline of exports was unexpected, and despite the ongoing fiscal support from the government, exports in particular hinge more on the reopening and recovery of the global economy,” Citi analysts said in a note. “We closely watch the global coronavirus cases and the sustainability of reopening in major economies to gauge the path of economic recovery going forward.”
For its part, South Korea largely managed to avoid stringent nationwide lockdowns seen in other countries to curb the virus’ spread. Seoul imposed strict social distancing measures and conducted mass testing to identify infected individuals. Still, the country is facing a resurgence in cases with local media reporting that cluster infections were traced to a military unit and nursing homes. 

Currencies and oil

In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 94.802 at 3:18 p.m. HK/SIN, declining from levels above 96.00 in the previous week.
The Australian dollar was up 0.18% and changed hands at $0.7151 while the Korean won traded near flat at 1,196.95 per U.S. dollar.
Oil prices rose on Thursday during Asian trading hours following slight declines overnight.
Global benchmark Brent added 0.43% to $44.48 a barrel while U.S. crude was up 0.43% at $42.08.
U.S. crude and distillate inventories rose unexpectedly and fuel demand slipped in the most recent week, according to the Energy Information Administration, Reuters reported. 

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 22, July 2020

Mainland Chinese stocks rise; gold prices soar after $2 trillion Europe stimulus package

Weizhen Tan


Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly declined in the afternoon, but mainland Chinese stocks bucked the trend. Gold prices soared to a nine-year high, while the dollar weakened after European Union leaders reached an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package.
Mainland Chinese stocks shed some earlier gains but were still positive by the close. The Shanghai composite rose 0.37% to close at 3,333.16, while the Shenzhen composite was up 0.84% to 2,251.43. The Shenzhen component jumped 0.89% to 13,657.03.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index declined 0.48% by the afternoon, with losses in tech and property names.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.58% to close at 22,751.61, while the Topix edged down 0.49% to 1,572.96. The country’s manufacturing activity contracted for a 13th straight month in July, data showed, according to Reuters.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi erased earlier gains to close flat at 2,228.66. The country’s finance ministry said that stock transaction taxes will be cut gradually to 0.15% by 2023, for Kospi-listed shares, from the current 0.25%, according to Reuters.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.32% to close at 6,075.10. Australia’s retail sales climbed 2.4% in June as its economy continued to reopen, data showed on Wednesday, according to Reuters. That follows a record 16.9% surge in the previous month.
Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.17% in the afternoon.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22751.61-132.61-0.58
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25094.83-540.83-2.11
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006075.10-81.20-1.32
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3333.1612.270.37
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2228.66-0.17-0.01
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008836.45-95.21-1.07

Gold prices rise, dollar weakens as Europe reaches stimulus deal

Investor sentiment was boosted after the 27 European Union governments reached a breakthrough agreement over new fiscal stimulus, following marathon talks in Brussels that lasted four days.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has been tasked with tapping financial markets to raise an unprecedented 750 billion euros ($857 billion). The funds will be distributed among the countries and sectors most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and will take the form of grants and loans.
In addition to the recovery fund, the EU said its next budget, which will fund initiatives between 2021 and 2027, will total 1.074 trillion euros. The two combined bring upcoming investments to the level of 1.824 trillion euros.
The pandemic has not shown signs of abating in recent weeks, with the outbreak surging across the U.S. and reaching record highs in new cases and deaths. Worldwide, the number of cases stand at over 14 million with more than 600,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Gold prices surged to a nine-year high on Tuesday on the back of the European stimulus package and coronavirus surge, ANZ Research’s Hayden Dimes said in a note.
“The unprecedented stimulus package is likely to push real interest rates even lower, a boom for non-yielding assets such as gold. This also comes amid a new surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to derail the economic recovery as governments ease restrictions,” Dimes wrote.
Spot gold was up 0.8% at $1,856.13 per ounce, after hitting its highest since September 2011 at $1,865.35 earlier, according to Reuters.
Over on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed more than 150 points, after rising more than 300 points at its high of the day. The S&P 500 closed in positive territory with a modest gain of 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite underperformed, dipping 0.8% as Facebook, Amazon Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all closed lower.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, weakened markedly, hitting a four-month low on Tuesday. It was last at 95.116, continuing to decline from levels near 96 earlier this week.
“It remains to be seen if Republicans and Democrats have the same resolve demonstrated by EU leaders to find middle ground by next week on the new coronavirus relief bill,” DBS Bank wrote in a note. “This concern was evident in US equities which did not surge on the weaker USD.”

Currencies and oil

The Japanese yen traded at 106.88 per dollar, strengthening after levels above 107 seen earlier. The Australian dollar continued strengthening through the day, last changing hands at 0.7149 after seeing levels below 0.70 for most of this year.
Oil prices pared some losses in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures traded flat to $44.33 per barrel. U.S. crude futures edged down marginally to $41.89 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 21, July 2020

Asia trades higher with investor sentiment supported by positive vaccine news

Saheli Roy Choudhury


Asia Pacific markets rose Tuesday after investor sentiment was supported by a slew of positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front and likely also from a pivotal European deal on a pandemic recovery fund.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.73% to 22,884.22 and the Topix index added 0.36% to 1,582.74.
South Korea’s Kospi index rose 1.39% to 2,228.83, while in Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 added 2.58% to close at 6,156.30, with the heavily weighted financials subindex up 2.9%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.83% in afternoon trade while the Straits Times index in Singapore gained 0.53% and the Jakarta Composite rose 1.41%. India’s Nifty 50 and the Sensex also gained more than 1% each.
Chinese mainland shares also rose: The Shanghai composite recovered from earlier losses to gain 0.2% to 3,320.89 while the Shenzhen component index added 0.65% to 13,536.17 and the Shenzhen composite was up 0.72% at 2,232.69.
The session in Asia followed overnight gains on Wall Street due to a strong performance in technology shares. U.S. futures pointed to opening gains on Tuesday.
“Global equities kicked off the trading week on a positive note as vaccine hopes supported optimism,” Felicity Emmett, a senior economist at ANZ, wrote in a morning note.
Pfizer and BioNTech reported early positive data on a joint coronavirus vaccine candidate. Another candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca also showed a positive immune response in an early trial.
The coronavirus pandemic, which was first reported in China late last year, has infected more than 14.6 million people and killed over 608,000.
European leaders reached a breakthrough agreement over new fiscal stimulus, following marathon talks in Brussels over four days. The European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, will tap into financial markets to raise 750 billion euros ($857 billion), which would be distributed among countries and sectors most affected by the pandemic. The funds would be disbursed in the form of grants and loans.
Elsewhere, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report that Chinese companies’ earnings were set to grow slower or even decline this year due to the pandemic’s impact on economic growth before recovering in 2021. The largest downward revision was for companies in the auto and auto-related, oil and gas, and oilfield sectors.
“We expect credit quality will weaken, especially for companies in vulnerable sectors that are most affected by reduced revenues, margins and disrupted supply chains,” said Lina Choi, a senior vice president at Moody’s, in a statement.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22884.22166.740.73
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25562.23504.242.01
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006156.30154.702.58
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3320.896.750.20
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2228.8330.631.39
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008905.51174.812.00

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 95.741 as of 3:04 p.m. HK/SIN, declining slightly from its previous close of 95.832.
The dollar “remains heavy near the weakest levels since March,” analysts at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a morning note.
“In the absence of market‑moving economic data this week, negotiations about the next round of economic stimulus will be in focus,” they said.
Elsewhere, the Japanese yen changed hands at 107.31, weakening from levels near 106.8 seen last week. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7042, climbing from levels near $0.6960 in the previous week.
The euro traded fractionally higher at $1.1450 after the common currency earlier rose to a high of $1.1469.
Oil prices traded higher Tuesday during Asian hours. U.S. crude traded up 0.47% at $41 a barrel while global benchmark Brent added 0.72% to $43.59. 

______________________________________________________

On Monday 20, July 2020

Mainland Chinese stocks surge, with Shanghai jumping more than 3% as China keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

Weizhen Tan




Mainland Chinese stocks surged on Monday, as China maintained its benchmark lending rate for the third straight month.
The Shanghai composite jumped 3.11% to close at 3,314.15 while the Shenzhen composite was up 2.68% to close at 2,216.70. The Shenzhen component jumped 2.55% to 13,448.85.
Over the weekend, China’s regulators raised the limit on how much insurers can invest in equity assets to 45%, according to Reuters, in an effort to bring more long-term funds into the market.
China kept both its one-year and five-year loan prime rate unchanged, according to Reuters, as its economy continued to recover after reopening following the coronavirus crisis. Last week, official data showed that its economy grew 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, better than the 2.5% expected by analysts, according to Reuters.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 0.38% in the afternoon. The city tightened restrictions again after reported cases surged to more than 100 in 24 hours over the weekend. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the situation was “very serious and there is no sign of it coming under control,” according to Reuters.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 clawed back earlier losses to edge up 0.09%, closing at 22,717.48. The Topix rose 0.20% to close at 1,577.03.
Japan’s exports dived 26.2% in June from a year earlier, data showed, according to Reuters. That was a worse decline than expected as economists in a Reuters poll had predicted a 24.9% decline. Imports fell 14.4%, compared with expectations of a 16.8% decline, according to Reuters.
In May, Japan’s exports had fallen 28.3%, the fastest pace since the global financial crisis as U.S.-bound car shipments plunged, according to Reuters.
Autos, a big export sector for Japan, declined all day. By the close, Nissan had dived 3%, Mitsubishi Motor tumbled 1.77% and Suzuki declined 3.64%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.54% to close at 6,001.60 as financials saw declines across the board. Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.14% to close at 2,198.20.
Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.09%.

Currencies and oil 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.876, losing ground from levels above 96 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.25 per dollar, after a turbulent previous week where it traded at around levels between 106 and 107. The Australian dollar touched the 0.70 level briefly in the morning, before falling back to 0.6983.
Oil prices deepened declines in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures were down 1.07% to $42.69 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dipped 1.03% to $40.17 per barrel.
What’s on tap (all times in HK/SIN):
  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong’s unemployment rate for June
  • Earnings: Australia’s South32

_________________________________________________

On Friday 17, July 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mostly edge higher as U.S.-China tensions linger

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly edged higher on Friday following Thursday’s drop that saw shares in China plunging more than 4%.
Mainland Chinese stocks recovered from an earlier decline to close higher on Friday. The Shanghai composite added 0.13% to about 3,214.13 while the Shenzhen S to 1,573.85.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.38% higher at 6,033.60.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index advanced 0.7%.
“Asian equities are still quite cheap relative to global equities,” Dan Fineman, co-Head of Asia Pacific equity strategy at Credit Suisse, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday.
“On a number of grounds Asia in general looks good, but if you wanna focus within the region I think  you’re best to emphasize the more developed economies,” Fineman said.
Places such as Singapore, South Korea and Australia have “much more capacity” for fiscal stimulus, he added: “The key to recovery in the medium term after the pandemic passes is government support.”
Friday’s moves followed a sharp Thursday fall in Chinese stocks along with U.S. jobless claims data that missed expectations. The initial jobless claims figure stateside came in at 1.3 million for the week ending July 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. That compared against expectations of 1.25 million by economists polled by Dow Jones.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing may also have weighed on investor sentiment. Reuters reported Thursday, citing a source, that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering banning travel stateside by all members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s trade data released Friday showed a surge in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) for June. NODX for June soared 16.1% as compared to a year ago, beating expectations of a 6.2% increase by economists in a Reuters poll. The data release came after the country’s latest gross domestic product numbers, released earlier this week, came in worse than analysts’ forecast and showed the nation’s economy entering a technical recession.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22696.42-73.94-0.32
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25089.17118.480.47
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006033.6022.700.38
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3214.134.030.13
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2201.1917.430.80
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008671.1243.930.51

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.257 following its decline from levels above 96.4 seen earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.11 per dollar, in a turbulent trading week that has seen the currency going from levels around 107.4 to below 106.8 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.699 after seeing levels around $0.7 yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.71% to $43.06 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dipped 0.61% to $40.50 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 16, July 2020

Mainland Chinese stocks plummet more than 4%; SMIC soars more than 200% in Shanghai debut

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were lower on Thursday as investors reacted to a slew of Chinese economic data released earlier.
Mainland Chinese stocks led losses regionally as they plunged on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 4.5% to about 3,210.10 while the Shenzhen component plummeted 5.372% to end its trading day at 12,996.34. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.86%, as of its final hour of trading.
China’s largest chipmaker SMIC saw its shares surge 245% at the open on its first day of trade in Shanghai on Thursday. The Shanghai-listed shares later pared some of those gains but still finished their trading day about 202% higher. The contract semiconductor manufacturer is seen as an important player in China’s ambitions to become more self-sufficient when it comes to chips.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.76% to close at 22,770.36 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.66% lower at 1,579.06. Shares of Apple supplier Japan Display, however, soared 8.33%.
South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.82% to close at 2,183.76 as the Bank of Korea announced Thursday its decision to leave the base rate unchanged at 0.5%.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day 0.69% lower at 6,010.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index fell 1.74%.
China on Thursday reported that the country’s GDP grew by 3.2% in the second quarter of this yearas compared to a year ago. That was higher than expectations of a 2.5% growth in the April to June quarter by economists in a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, retail sales in June fell 1.8% on-year, falling short of expectations of a 0.3% growth by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Economic data releases out of China have been watched by investors for clues on the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus.
Commenting on the Chinese GDP print, JPMorgan Asset Management’s Marcella Chow wrote in a note: “Looking forward, we expect to see continuous improvement in the upcoming quarters as domestic economic activities largely resume.”
“Along with the increase in government-driven infrastructure investment, consumption might become a new growth driver,” Chow said. “Since domestic households have accumulated huge amount of bank deposits for precautionary savings during the economic slowdown and pandemic, fast recovery might be seen in consumption when their confidence improves.”
Geopolitical tensions may also have weighed on investor sentiment regionally, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Wednesday that the country will impose visa restrictions on Chinese tech firms, a move expected to strain relations between Washington and Beijing.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22770.36-175.14-0.76
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24945.32-536.26-2.10
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006010.90-42.00-0.69
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3210.10-151.21-4.50
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2183.76-18.12-0.82
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008656.84-134.82-1.53
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.13 after touching an earlier low of 95.999.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.97 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 107.1 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6993 following a rise from levels below $0.696 seen earlier in the trading week.
Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.48% to $43.58 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.85% to $40.85 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal and Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 14, July 2020

Asia Pacific stocks dip as China's trade data in June beats expectations; Singapore enters recession

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific fell on Tuesday, as China’s trade data for June came in above expectations.
Mainland Chinese stocks declined on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.83% to around 3,414.62 while the Sheenzhen component dropped 1.079% to about 13,996.46. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.24%, as of efinal hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.87% to close at 22,587.01 while the Topix index declined 0.5% to finish its trading day at 1,565.15. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.11% to close at 2,183.61.
Shares in Australia also saw losses on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.61% to 5,941.10.
Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times Index in Singapore dipped 0.29% in afternoon trade. Singapore’s economy entered a technical recession after shrinking 41.2% in the second quarter as compared to the previous quarter, according to advance estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry released Tuesday. A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of quarter-on-quarter contraction.
“Even with a widely expected bottoming in Q2, the worry is about a long hard slog back, with the path to recovery littered with uncertainty,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. Still, he said: ”“A knee-jerk ramp-up on policy stimulus is not our base case, despite how grim the data appear.”
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped 0.93%.
China’s dollar-denominated trade data for June released on Tuesday came in above expectations. Exports rose 0.5% year-on-year while imports increased 2.7% as compared to a year earlier, according to customs data. A Reuters poll had estimated that June exports contracted 1.5% from a year earlier, while imports were expected to fall 10.0% from last year.
On the coronavirus front, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday warned that “too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.”
“In several countries across the world, we are now seeing dangerous increases in Covid-19 cases, and hospital wards filling up again,” Tedros said. “It would appear that many countries are losing gains made as proven measures to reduce risk are not implemented or followed.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22587.01-197.73-0.87
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25358.37-413.75-1.61
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005941.10-36.40-0.61
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3414.62-28.67-0.83
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2183.61-2.45-0.11
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008683.76-87.37-1.00
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.585 after touching an earlier high of 96.61.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.30 per dollar after weakening from the 106.8 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6944 after turbulent trading on Monday that saw it at levels above $0.698.
Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.43% to $42.11 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 1.6% to $39.46 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Yen Nee Lee and Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 13, July 2020

China's Shenzhen surges more than 3% as stocks in Asia jump despite rising coronavirus cases

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia jumped on Monday as investors shrugged off concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases stateside.
Mainland Chinese stocks were among the biggest gainers regionally on the day, as the Shenzhen component soared 3.496% to about 14,149.14 while the Shanghai composite was up 1.77% to around 3,443.29.
The strong moves upward for Chinese stocks came despite comments by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday that the relationship between Washington and Beijing has been “severely damaged” by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. also issued an advisory on Saturday asking its citizens to “exercise increased caution” in China due to a “heightened risk of arbitrary detention.”
“I think clearly, domestic investors in China have become relatively immune to the continuing deterioration in relationships between the United States and China. Indeed, I think global investors have now largely almost forgotten about ... the trade tensions between the United States and China,” Jonathan Pain, author of The Pain Report, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 2.22% to close at 22,784.74 as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group and robot maker Fanuc soared 4.23% and 3.24%, respectively. The Topix index also advanced 2.46% to finish its trading day at 1,573.02. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.67% to close at 2,186.06.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.57%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of HSBC surging around 3%.
Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.98% to close at 5,977.50.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.97%.
The World Health Organization on Sunday reported a record daily rise in global coronavirus cases, according to Reuters. Stateside, Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new coronavirus infections — the highest single day total to date for any U.S. state since the pandemic began in the country.
“Ongoing grim US COVID-19 infection news continues to be summarily ignored,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note. Attrill said that was due to “ongoing optimism” surrounding factors such as the “time-line for the discovery and rapid roll-out of an effective vaccine” as well as potential additional policy support for the U.S. economy.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22784.74493.932.22
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25829.62102.210.40
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005977.5058.300.98
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3443.2959.961.77
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2186.0635.811.67
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008819.1393.991.08
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.416 after declining from levels above 96.9 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.94 per dollar following a strengthening from levels above 107.2 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6972 after turbulent trading last week that saw it swinging between levels below $0.694 to above $0.698.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.76% to $42.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 0.86% to $40.20 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 10 July 2020


Asia Pacific markets lower as 'coronavirus anxiety' dominates sentiment

Saheli Roy Choudhury


Asia Pacific markets fell across the board Friday as investors remained cautious due to the growing number of coronavirus cases around the world.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 2.26% in late-afternoon trade. Reuters reported the city will suspend all schools from Monday following a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 ended the session down 0.61% at 5,919.20. The heavily-weighted financials subindex declined 0.72% while the energy subindex fell 1.98%.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 1.06% to 22,290.81 while the Topix index fell 1.42% to 1,535.20. In South Korea, the Kospi index was down 0.81% at 2,150.25.
Mainland Chinese markets also fell: The Shanghai composite was down 1.95% at 3,383.32, the Shenzhen composite was down 0.3% at 2,251 while the Shenzhen component was down 0.61% at 13,671.24.
Friday’s session followed a mixed overnight on Wall Street where coronavirus concerns pushed investors into tech stocks.
“Coronavirus anxiety dominated market sentiment in a day where major economic releases were scarce,” Kishti Sen, an economist at ANZ Research, wrote in a morning note about the overnight session.
“That left the focus on the high frequency data and daily COVID-19 news,” Sen said. 
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22290.81-238.48-1.06
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25727.41-482.75-1.84
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005919.20-36.30-0.61
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3383.32-67.27-1.95
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2150.25-17.65-0.81
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008728.98-80.56-0.91
Infection cases in the United States rose with California and Florida among 12 states hitting record-breaking, seven-day averages for daily new cases, a CNBC analysis showed.
The World Health Organization said that though the virus, which has infected more than 12 million globally, can be brought under control, it’s “getting worse” in most of the world.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, rose 0.23% to 96.922.
The Japanese yen changed hands at 106.84 per dollar, strengthening from earlier levels around 107.26. The Australian dollar slipped 0.56%, trading at $0.6924.
Oil prices fell Friday during Asian hours following more than 2% declines on Thursday.
Global benchmark Brent traded down 1.61% at $41.67 while U.S. crude fell 1.89% to $38.87 a barrel.
Vivek Dhar from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a morning note that a stronger U.S. dollar and concerns “linked directly to the spread and impact of COVID‑19 in the US,” weighed on oil overnight. 
______________________________________________________

On Thursday 9, July 2020

 Eustance Huang



Shares in Asia Pacific were higher on Thursday as Chinese inflation data for June was released.
Mainland Chinese stocks, which have already seen a strong performance so far this week, continued to lead gains among the region’s major markets. The Shanghai composite gained 1.39% on the day to about 3,450.59 while the Shenzhen component surged 2.599% to around 13,754.74.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.13% higher, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Alibaba soaring 9.59%.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.4% to close at 22,529.29 as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group soared 4.52%. The Topix index ended its trading day flat at 1,557.24.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.42% to close at 2,167.90. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day 0.59% higher at 5,955.50.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.59%.
“We think that risk appetite still remains really very, very strong at a global level,” Ray Farris, chief investment officer for South Asia at Credit Suisse, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that this extraordinary stimulus ... from central banks and from governments everywhere, remains in place.”
“We remain positive on Asia, expecting it to continue to outperform really in many respects, led by China,” Farris said.
The moves regionally came following the release of China’s June inflation data.The producer price index slipped 3% year-on-year, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That compared against expectations of a 3.2% decline in a Reuters poll of analysts. Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 2.5% as compared with a year ago, in line with expectations from a Reuters poll.
The coronavirus pandemic also likely continued weighing on investor sentiment as the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed the 3 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University. As cases and deaths rise, data compiled by Apple Maps shows driving activity is slowing down across the country, which could be a warning sign for the economic comeback.
Globally, more than 11.88 million people have been infected while at least 545,398 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22529.2990.640.40
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI26249.37120.190.46
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005955.5035.200.59
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3450.5947.151.39
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2167.909.020.42
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008785.1875.560.87
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.277 after declining from levels above 96.8 yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.22 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 107.7 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6991 after rising from levels below $0.696 yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.25% at $43.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.34% to $40.76 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 8, July 2020

China jumps nearly 2% as mainland stocks continue to see solid gains for the week

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continued to linger.
Mainland Chinese stocks built on the solid run they’ve had so far this week as they led gains in the region for yet another day. The Shanghai composite closed 1.74% higher at around 3,403.44 while the Shenzhen component rose 1.841% to end its trading day at about 13,406.37. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also added 0.42%, as of its final hour of trading.
Stocks in mainland China have seen a strong surge so far this week, with the Shanghai composite soaring nearly 6% on Monday. That came after the state-owned China Securities Journal said investors should look forward to the “wealth effect of the capital markets” and the prospect for a “healthy bull market.”
“There has been a lot of positive surprises in the market and that continue to fuel the market sentiment,” Frank Tsui, senior fund manager at Value Partners, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday. “Near term, I think the positive sentiment will continue to be driving the market performance.”
Still, Tsui said investors should be “more cautious” and question whether the share price performance is being driven by fundamentals or purely based on sentiment.
Elsewhere, however, other major markets in the region saw losses on the day.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.78% to close at 22,438.65 while the Topix index shed 0.92% to 1,557.23. Over in South Korea, the Kospi ended its trading day 0.24% lower at 2,158.88.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dropped 1.54% to close at 5,920.30.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.49%.
A World Health Organization official said Tuesday that it shouldn’t “be a surprise” if coronavirus deaths start to rise again. Reported Covid-19 cases globally accelerated in June while the death toll has been falling. WHO officials warn that that there’s a lag between rising cases and increasing deaths. It takes weeks after contracting the virus to fall seriously ill and potentially die from the coronavirus.
Cases have recently spiked stateside with Texas reporting more than 10,000 additional Covid-19 cases Tuesday — a record-breaking daily surge.
In Asia Pacific, a recent uptick in cases in parts of Australia has prompted officials in Victoria state to impose stay-at-home restrictions in areas such as metropolitan Melbourne for six weeks.
Bank Julius Baer’s Mark Matthews told CNBC on Wednesday that there’s no way to “put a positive” on the lockdown in Australia’s Victoria state.
“The whole Australian story was basically a cyclical recovery story in the second half and … the domestic side of that will now be compromised,” said Matthews, who is head of research for Asia at the firm.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.874 after seeing an earlier high of 97.045.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.44 per dollar after after seesawing between levels below 107.4 and above 107.7 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6945 after touching levels around $0.693 yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.21% to $42.99 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.25% to $40.52 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 7, July 2020

China's Shenzhen rises nearly 2% as mainland stocks build on Monday momentum

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Tuesday as the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its policy settings on hold.
Stocks in mainland China continued to lead gains among the region’s major markets for a second day after Monday’s blockbuster gains. The Shenzhen component jumped 1.717% to close at around 13,163.98 while the Shanghai composite rose 0.37% to about 3,345.34.
On Monday, the Shanghai composite soared nearly 6% after the state-owned China Securities Journal said investors should look forward to the “wealth effect of the capital markets” and the prospect for a “healthy bull market.”
“Frankly speaking, it’s not the first time for the official mouth(piece) to promote a stronger equity market in China. We have seen many, many rounds,” Tommy Xie, head of greater China research at Singapore’s OCBC Bank, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday. “Most of the time, it’s quite short-lived, so I think eventually what matters is still the fundamentals.”
Still, Xie said it is “perfect timing” for China to “promote” a stronger equity market again.
“China does need a stronger equity market right now,” Xie said, as it would aid in areas such as deleveraging as well as boosting sentiment when the country feels somewhat “isolated” by some of the Western powers.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, on the other hand, fell 1.08%, as of its final hour of trading.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.44% to close at 22,614.69 while the Topix index shed 0.34% to end its trading day at 1,571.71. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.09% to close at 2,164.17.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day marginally below the flatline at 6,012.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.59%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22614.69-99.75-0.44
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25924.05-415.11-1.58
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006012.90-1.70-0.03
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3345.3412.460.37
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2164.17-23.76-1.09
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008624.39-73.55-0.85
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced Tuesday its decision to maintain its current policy.
“The outlook remains uncertain and the recovery is expected to be bumpy and will depend upon containment of the virus,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a media release, though he acknowledged that the recent pick up in leading indicators suggested that the “worst of the global economic contraction has now passed.”
“As widely expected, the RBA made no changes to monetary policy at its July meeting,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, wrote in a note. “The RBA basically remains in watch and monitor mode.”
Following the RBA decision, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6944 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6997.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.882 after touching an earlier low of 96.6.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.56 per dollar following an earlier high of 107.22.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.21% to $42.58 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.3% to $40.10 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 6, July 2020

Shanghai soars more than 5%, leading gains in Asia as 'bull sentiment' drives markets

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher during Monday’s trading session. Shares in mainland China led regional gains.
The Shanghai composite soared 5.34% while the Shenzhen component rose 3.717%. The Shenzhen composite also jumped 3.6%.
Jackson Wong, asset management director at Amber Hill Capital, told CNBC in an email that “bull sentiment” in mainland Chinese shares was “driving the markets.”
Wong said the “sudden surge” in trading volume, as well as a break out for the Shanghai composite last week, raised investor expectations that “another bull run is coming.” Some of the reasons he suggested for the uptick in sentiment included the country being less affected by the coronavirus outbreak at the moment.
BOCOM International’s Hao Hong told CNBC that the Shanghai composite has “broken through” its 850-day long-term moving average.
“The market continues to believe that the central bank will ease more, as seen by China’s recent credit and monetary expansion,” said Hong, who is managing director and head of research at the firm. However, he added: “In China, the bull comes as swiftly as it leaves.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also saw robust gains and rose 3.34%.
Elsewhere in the region, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.83% while the Topix index added 1.6%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.64%.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia bucked the regional trend and edged lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 dipping 0.42%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index jumped 1.6%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22714.44407.961.83
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI26383.971010.853.98
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006014.60-43.30-0.71
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3332.88180.075.71
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2187.9335.521.65
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008640.92150.021.77
The moves upward regionally came despite the World Health Organization saying Saturday that more than 200,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed over a 24-hour period — a record.
Over in the U.S., the states of Florida and Texas reported daily record spikes in coronavirus cases on Saturday. The recent surge in cases has raised concerns over the possibility of lockdowns being reintroduced to curb the virus’ spread, that could put a dent on the prospects for economic recovery.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.896 after touching an earlier high of 97.195.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.68 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 108 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6968 following a rise from levels around $0.684 in the previous trading week.
Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.93% to $43.20 per barrel. U.S. crude futures, on the other hand, shed 0.15% to $40.59 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 3, July 2020

Shanghai stocks jump 2% as data shows China's services sector grew in June; U.S. jobs report beats expectations

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia rose on Friday as positive economic data raised optimism over the prospects of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mainland Chinese stocks were among the region’s biggest gainers on the day, with the Shanghai composite surging 2.01% to around 3,152.81 while the Shenzhen component added 1.335% to about 12,433.26.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was around 1.1% higher, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.72% to close at 22,306.48 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.62% higher at 1,552.33.
South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.8% to close at 2,152.41. Shares of SK Biopharmaceuticals skyrocketed 29.92% to see gains for a second day following its blockbuster IPO on Thursday.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day 0.42% higher at 6,057.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 1.03%.
A private survey showed Friday that China’s services sector showed it growing at its fastest pace in over a decade in June, according to Reuters, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) coming in at 58.4 for the month. That was the highest print since April 2010, according to Reuters, and compared with May’s 55.0 reading. The 50 level in PMI readings separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
In the U.S., nonfarm payrolls surged by 4.8 million in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The figure smashed expectations by economists surveyed by Dow Jones of a 2.9 million increase in jobs created. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1%, lower than the 12.4% forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
The Labor Department also said, however, that initial jobless claims rose by 1.427 million in the week ending June 27. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial U.S. jobless claims to rise by another 1.38 million.
Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note that the nonfarm payrolls and jobless claims data “delivered contrasting images” of the state of the U.S. labor market.
“While June data reflected a big improvement in the US labour market, the recent sharp acceleration in new virus cases plus the prospect of an end to unemployment benefits by the end of July are two big layers of uncertainty,” Catril said. Numerous states in the U.S. have paused or reversed plans to ease restrictions as new coronavirus cases spiked countrywide.
Nomura’s Chetan Seth told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday that markets are “trading on incremental economic data.”
“The question from here on is: Can you see continued economic data beats?,” asked Seth, who is Asia-Pacific equity strategist at the firm. “The moment we start seeing some disappointment, I guess the market will probably not like it.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22306.48160.520.72
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25373.12248.930.99
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006057.9025.200.42
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3152.8162.242.01
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2152.4117.040.80
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008491.4485.151.01
Oil prices slipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.72% to $42.83 per barrel. The U.S. crude futures contract shed 0.81% to $40.32 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.2 after earlier touching a high of 97.291.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.48 per dollar after seeing lows beyond 108 earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6937 following its rise this week from levels around $0.684.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 2,  July 2020

Hong Kong surges nearly 3% as Asia Pacific stocks rise amid coronavirus vaccine hopes

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Thursday, following positive news overnight about the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong led gains among the region’s major markets, rising 2.85% to close at 25,124.19 following a Wednesday holiday. Shares of Chinese internet giant Tencent soared 3.99% while Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing skyrocketed 6.06%.
Tensions in the city were closely watched after China’s controversial national security law went into effect and Hong Kong police announced their first arrests under the measure. Police said in a tweet that they arrested about 370 people Wednesday, of which 10 were for alleged national security law breaches.
Mainland Chinese stocks also saw robust gains on the day, with the Shanghai composite rising 2.13% to around 3,090.57 and the Shenzhen component adding 1.292% to about 12,269.49.
South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.36% to close at 2,135.37. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.11% to close at 22,145.96 while the Topix index advanced 0.27% to finish its trading day at 1,542.76.
Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.66% to close at 6,032.70. Trade surplus for May came in at 8.025 billion Australian dollars ($5.55 billion) on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the country’s bureau of statistics. That was below expectations of a trade surplus of 9 billion Australian dollars in a Reuters poll.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 1.94%.
“I think it’s very interesting that even with the events of yesterday, of course, the Hang Seng market is the relative outperformer today,” Ben Powell, chief investment strategist for Asia Pacific at BlackRock Investment Institute, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” Thursday morning Singapore time.
Powell said the market moves were testament to the global “policy revolution,” referring to drastic measures adopted by authorities around the world to keep financial markets afloat as the pandemic hits global economies.
“Even with the complexities of domestic politics, geopolitics, the virus itself which is still with us ... this policy revolution is helping financial markets to have healed ... back in March and now to continue to perform rather well,” Powell said. “Having a moderately pro-risk stance, we think, continues to be right … both globally and here in the region.”
Investors watched for reaction to a recent study of a coronavirus candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that showed the drug created neutralizing antibodies. The results, which were posted online, have yet to be reviewed by a medical journal.
“We are cautious,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “We have received positive news about potential vaccines in the past, but all are yet to see widespread production and distribution.”
A top World Health Organization official warned Wednesday that certain countries may need to reimplement lockdowns. In the U.S., more than 12 states have paused or rolled back their reopenings following a recent spike in cases. Globally, more than 10 million people have been infected by the coronavirus and at least 511,000 lives have been taken, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22145.9624.230.11
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25124.19697.002.85
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006032.7098.301.66
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3090.5764.592.13
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2135.3728.671.36
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008378.14134.521.63
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against basket of its peers, was at 96.952 following an earlier high of 97.19.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.41 per dollar following its strengthening yesterday from around the 108 mark against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0-.6931 after bouncing from levels below $0.69 yesterday.
Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Thursday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.4% to $42.62 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were 1.41% higher at $40.38 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 30 June 2020

Mainland Chinese stocks jump as the country's June manufacturing activity beats expectations

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Tuesday as China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index for June came in above expectations.
Mainland Chinese stocks were also higher on the day, with the Shenzhen component jumping 2.042% to approximately 11,992.35 while the Shanghai composite was up 0.78% to about 2,984.67.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.25%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of life insurer AIA falling 1.17%. The moves came after China passed a controversial national security law for the city. Chinese officials are set to hold a media briefing regarding the security law on Wednesday morning local time.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.33% to close at 22,288.14, following its more than 2% slide on Monday. The Topix index also added 0.62% to finish its trading day at 1,558.77. In South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.71% higher at 2,108.33.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia added 1.43% to end its trading day at 5,897.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.62%.
China’s official manufacturing PMI for June came in at 50.9, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Economists in a Reuters poll had a median forecast of 50.4 for the data print. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that indicate contraction.
In May, the official manufacturing PMI was at 50.6, according to the NBS.
Meanwhile, Japan’s industrial production in May dropped 8.4% month-on-month, according to data released Tuesday in a preliminary report by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. That was a larger decline than a median market forecast of a 5.6% fall by economists in a Reuters poll.
Developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic will also continue to be watched, with World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu warning Monday that “the worst is yet to come.”
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said during a virtual news conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “We all want this to  be over. We all want to get on with our lives, but the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over.”
“We’ve seen a good sweep of data, macro data in particular, over the past few weeks coming out of the U.S., the euro zone and China and I think this Chinese data just reiterates the fact that we’re seeing a faster than expected improvement from a macro perspective,” Cedric Chehab, head of country risk and global strategy at Fitch Solutions, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Tuesday. He added that there’s currently a “tug-of-war” in the markets between the improving macro data and “deteriorating” coronavirus data.
“If we start to see the number of infections continue to rise very quickly and localized lockdowns starting to become more strict and blanket lockdowns across the U.S. or in other countries, then I think that would set up more risks for ... a much larger correction in equity markets,” Chehab said.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22288.14293.101.33
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24392.3591.070.37
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005897.9082.901.43
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2984.6723.160.78
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2108.3314.850.71
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008243.4438.670.47
The Tuesday moves in Asia Pacific followed an overnight surge for stocks on Wall Street that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing more than 500 points higher.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.66 after earlier touching a low of 97.389.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.65 per dollar after weakening sharply from levels below 107.5 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6852 after touching an earlier high of $0.6885.
Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Tuesday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.89% to $41.34 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 1.13% to $39.25 per barrel.

— CNBC’s William Feuer, Jasmine Kim and Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 29, June 2020

Japan falls more than 2% as global coronavirus death toll crosses 500,000; oil prices decline

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific fell on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases globally continues to rise.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 2.3% on the day to 21,995.04 as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing and conglomerate Softbank Group dropped more than 2% each.The Topix index also slipped 1.78% to end its trading day at 1,549.22. South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.93% to close at 2,093.48.
Mainland Chinese stocks declined on the day. The Shanghai composite was down 0.61% to about 2,961.52 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.518% to around 11,752.36. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1.24%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of life insurer AIA down 3.1%.
Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.51% to close at 5,815.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.93%.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures dropping 1.37% to $40.46 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.33% to $37.98 per barrel.
On the economic data front, retail sales in Japan dropped 12.3% year-on-year in May, according to the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. That compared against a median market forecast of a 11.6% decline, according to Reuters.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21995.04-517.04-2.30
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24301.81-248.18-1.01
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005815.00-89.10-1.51
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2961.52-18.03-0.61
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2093.48-41.17-1.93
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008208.83-104.43-1.26
Investors continued to monitor developments surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic amid concerns that a surge in cases could impact the reopening of economies. Globally, more than 500,000 lives have been taken by the coronavirus as the number of infections crosses 10 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., coronavirus cases recently surged by more than 45,000 in a day, according to John Hopkins University data. The recent spike in cases stateside has led some states such as Texas and Florida to re-close some businesses.
“The hardest hit US states have delayed further reopening of their economies.  Some cities or states may take the further step of reimposing shutdowns or other restrictions to slow the spread of the virus and limit the pressure on health services.  The more stringent and widespread the restrictions, the slower the US economic rebound,” analysts at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a note.
“A double‑dip US recession is possible if widespread restrictions are reimposed, leading to a surge in the (U.S. dollar),” the analysts said. Still, they mentioned that daily consumer spending in the virus-hit states “continues to recover despite surging infections.”
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.176 after rising from levels below 97 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.15 per dollar seeing sharp moves between levels below 106.8 and above 107.2 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6881 after touching an earlier low of $0.6842.
Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the Asia Pacific market moves were on Monday.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 26, June 2020

Asia markets mostly higher as U.S. virus cases surge; Qantas shares in Australia sink 9%

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly rose on Friday as the coronavirus situation stateside continued to be monitored by investors.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.13% to close at 22,512.08 as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 3.04% while the Topix index added 0.99% to finish its trading day at 1,577.37. South Korea's Kospi also gained 1.05% to close at 2,134.65.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index bucked the overall trend regionally as it slipped 0.77% as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba dropping nearly 3%.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.49% to trade at 5,904.10.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.36%.
In corporate developments, shares of Australian airline Qantas Airways plummeted 9.07% after the firm announced it had completed a share placement to institutional investors worth approximately 1.36 billion Australian dollars ($936.83 million).  On Thursday, the firm had announced plans to reduce its pre-crisis workforce by at least 6,000 roles as part of steps to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Markets in China were closed on Friday for a holiday.
Investor reaction to the ongoing coronavirus situation in the U.S. continued to be watched on Friday, after the country suffered its single-biggest daily coronavirus cases surge on record. More than 45,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Wednesday, a record that surpassed the previous April 26 peak by over 9,000 cases, according to an NBC News tally.
"The burden on healthcare systems may force city or state governments to pause reopening of their economies or reimpose city-or state-wide lockdowns," Joseph Capuro, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.
Still, Capurso said: "We doubt a second wave of infections will reverse the current US economic recovery. The reimposition of lockdowns in select US cities will have a much smaller economic impact than state-wide or nation-wide lockdowns."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday placed new restrictions on the banking industry after its annual stress test found that several banks could get close to minimum capital levels in scenarios related to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, banks have to suspend share buyback programs and leave dividend payments at current levels for the third quarter.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.54% to $41.27 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.41% to $38.88 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.413 having traded at levels below 97 earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.12 per dollar following its weakening from levels below 106.8 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6882, having risen to levels above $0.695 and traded below $0.685 this week.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 25, June 2020

Australia drops more than 2% as Asia stocks slip; IMF slashes forecasts again

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific dropped on Thursday after the International Monetary Fund slashed its economic forecasts again.
Shares in Australia led losses among the region’s major markets, with the S&P/ASX 200 falling 2.48% to close at 5,817.70.
South Korea’s Kospi also saw a substantial decline as it dropped 2.27% to end its trading day at 2,112.37. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 1.22% to close at 22,259.79 while the Topix index shed 1.18% on the day to 1,561.85.
Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore fell 1.55% in afternoon trade.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped 0.9%.
In corporate news, shares of Olympus in Japan soared 11.15% on Thursday after the firm announced Wednesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell its camera division.
Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed on Thursday for a holiday.

IMF cuts economic forecasts

The IMF now estimates a contraction of 4.9% in global gross domestic product in 2020, lower than the 3% fall it predicted in April.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast,” the IMF said Wednesday in its World Economic Outlook update.
“In the month of May — every single economy we track, over a hundred — was deemed to be in recession,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.
“Typically in recessions globally you have one part of the world, major part of the world, that navigates the recession reasonably well, comes out the other side and is the engine of … growth in the economic recovery,” Zandi said. “There’s no obvious engine of growth here.”
Investor reaction to overnight moves on Wall Street was also watched on Thursday. The Dow fell 710.16 points, or 2.7%, to close at 25,445.94. The S&P 500 finished its trading day 2.6% lower at 3,050.33 while the Nasdaq Composite slid 2.2% to close at 9,909.17. It was the worst day for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq since June 11.
The moves stateside came following a surge in coronavirus cases in certain states, with Florida and California reporting a record number of new cases. More than 2.36 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. while at least 121,662 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22259.79-274.53-1.22
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24781.58-125.76-0.50
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005817.70-148.00-2.48
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2979.558.930.30
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2112.37-49.14-2.27
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008305.60-86.47-1.03

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.299 after touching an earlier high of 97.336.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.12 per dollar in a volatile trading week that has seen it at levels below 106.4 against the greenback to its earlier low of 107.25. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6862 after slipping from levels above $0.69 seen yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Thursday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.07% to $39.88 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 1.05% to $37.61 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 24, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mostly rise; Tencent shares slip from record high

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly edged higher on Wednesday, as Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent slipped from record highs seen earlier in the day.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi rose 1.42% to close at 2,161.51, with shares of index heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix surging 2.92% and 2.26%, respectively.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was 0.1%, as of its final hour of trading, as Tencent’s stock slipped 0.32% after earlier touching a new record high.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by their market close, with the Shanghai composite up 0.3% to about 2,979.55 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.165% to around 11,813.53.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was fractionally lower on the day at 22,534.32 while the Topix index shed 0.42% to close at 1,580.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.19% to finish its trading day at 5,965.70.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the Jakarta Composite in Indonesia jumped around 1.7% in afternoon trade.
Overall, the MSCI Asia-ex Japan index gained 0.43%.
The moves regionally came as the coronavirus situation stateside continues to be watched, with White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warning Tuesday that parts of the U.S. are beginning to see a “disturbing surge” of Covid-19 cases.
In a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fauci said he is “quite concerned” about the rise in coronavirus cases in states that “reflect an increase in community spread.” He did also say, however, that states with growing coronavirus outbreaks may not need to do an “absolute shutdown.”
More than 2 million people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in the US, but for now markets are having trouble with the implications given the high bar to re-imposing restrictions,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan said: “It is still unclear when the spread of COVID-19 will subside on a global basis, as the spread is continuing in emerging economies in particular. It seems inevitable that the negative impact on the global economy, including Japan, will become prolonged without effective vaccines and medicines.”
“Due to expectations for the future, prices in financial markets have been high compared with the current severe situation of the real economy. It is necessary to closely monitor future developments in the markets to see whether there will be a correction in asset prices,” the BoJ said.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.628 after dropping from levels above 97 seen yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.62 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 107 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6935 after seeing an earlier low of $0.6923.
Oil prices nudged higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.35% to $42.78 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose slightly to $40.40 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 23, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks rise as Peter Navarro says U.S.-China trade deal is still in place; Tencent surges to record high

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher on Tuesday following a turbulent session as White House advisor Peter Navarro clarified that the U.S.-China trade deal is not over.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index led gains among the region's major markets as it rose 1.62% to close at 24,907.34. Shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent soared to a new record, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon. It rose as high as 498.60 Hong Kong dollars per share before finishing the trading day 4.89% higher.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.18% to around 2,970.62 while the Shenzhen component rose 0.782% to about 11,794.01.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.5% to close at 22,549.05 while the Topix index added 0.51% to finish its trading day at 1,587.14. South Korea's Kospi also gained 0.21% to close at 2,131.24.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.17% higher at 5,954.40.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 0.96%.

US-China trade deal confusion

The moves regionally came after Navarro told NBC News that his earlier comments during a Fox News interview "had nothing to do with the trade deal at all."
"Phase one remains in place. We are trying to execute on that," Navarro told NBC News.
Asia Pacific stocks fell into negative territory after his Monday interview on Fox News' "The Story."
Fox's Martha MacCallum asked, "Do you think that the president sort of- I mean, he obviously really wanted to hang onto this trade deal as much as possible. And he wanted them to make good on the promises, because there had been progress made on that trade deal, but given everything that's happened and all the things you just listed, is that over?"
"It's over. Yes," Navarro responded.
In a statement to CNBC following the interview, Navarro said his comments were "taken wildly out of context."
"I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world," Navarro said.
U.S. President Donald Trump also chimed in on the subject, saying in a tweet that the "China Trade Deal is fully intact."
Meanwhile, concerns around the coronavirus situation stateside also likely lingered. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned Monday that "additional measures are going to be necessary" if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continued spiking. That came as the states of Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona recently reported record-high single-day infections.
"Investors remain focused on the states re opening strategies with monitors such as restaurant diners tracked by OpenTable and mobility track(ed) by Apple all pointing to an increase in US economic activity," Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
"Investors continue to see a high bar for the re-introduction of containment measures," Catril said, highlighting White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow's comments to CNBC on Monday that a "second wave" of coronavirus cases isn't coming.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.848 after touching an earlier high of 97.245.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.06 per dollar after touching an earlier high of 106.72 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.692 following an earlier low of $0.6857.
Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.65% to $43.36 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 0.64% to $40.99 per barrel.
— CNBC's Christine Wang contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 22, June 2020

Asia stocks mixed as virus cases stateside surge again; China keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia traded mixed on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases stateside soared again.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.18% lower at 22,437.27 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.23% lower at 1,579.09. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.68% lower at 2,126.73.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.75%, as of their final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba dropping more than 2%. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day. The Shanghai composite dipped slightly to about 2,965.27 while the Shenzhen component added 0.294% to around 11,702.44.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed above the flatline at 5,944.50.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slid 0.18%.
Investors watched for market reaction to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 30,000 new infections reported on Friday and Saturday — the highest daily totals since May 1 — according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, an official said Sunday that the Chinese capital of Beijing is capable of screening almost 1 million people a day for the coronavirus, according to Reuters. That development came on the back of a recent cluster of infections that was found in the city.
“The world is, and accordingly markets are, grappling with conflict and caution. At every level this resonates as much as it rattles,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note.
“From the conflict between celebrating ‘peak COVID’ as well as ‘exit from lockdowns’ and the real and present dangers of “second wave” infections risks, there must be some degree of caution,” Varathan said. 
China kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged on Monday, with the 1-year loan prime rate left at 3.85%. The 5-year loan prime rate was also kept steady at 4.65%.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.488 after rising from levels below 96.8 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.93 per dollar after seeing levels above 107.4 in the previous week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6861 following its slide from levels above $0.693 last week.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.17% at $42.26 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped 0.55% to $39.53 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 19, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks rise as investors monitor coronavirus situation

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher on Friday as investors continued to monitor the situation surrounding a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in some countries.
Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite up 0.96% to around 2,967.63 while the Shenzhen component added 1.51% to about 11,668.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.97%, as of its final hour of trading.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.55% higher at 22,478.79 while the Topix index finished its trading day little changed at 1,582.80. Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.37% higher at 2,141.32.
Shares in Australia saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to close at 5,942.60.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.53%.
Investor focus on Friday likely remained on developments surrounding the resurgence of coronavirus in some places, with four states in the U.S. reporting record spikes in cases.
Meanwhile, a Chinese health expert said Thursday that a recent virus outbreak in Beijing is under control. The Chinese capital saw a jump in infections after more than 50 days without domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases.
“The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control,” Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said according to a Reuters translation. “When I say that it’s under control, that doesn’t mean the number of cases will turn zero tomorrow or the day after.”
“Despite an unrelenting climb in COVID infections across (Latin America), South Asia and second wave risks hanging over US and China, global markets have regained traction; optimism even,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. “Simply put, markets view pandemic risks as passé, relegating them to the backseat (and rear-view mirror) as they look for an upturn ahead.”
“Markets’ resilience is best explained by the ‘hall of mirrors’ belief; where bets are that the Fed be cornered into easing effusively for the fear of disappointing markets,” Varathan said, in reference to unprecedented measures taken by the U.S. central bank to support financial markets.
On the economic data front, Australia’s preliminary retail trade figures released Friday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics showed retail turnover rising 16.3% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“This is the largest seasonally adjusted rise ever published in the 38 years of the Retail Trade survey, following the largest ever seasonally adjusted fall of 17.7 per cent in April 2020. Turnover rose 5.3 per cent when compared to May 2019,” the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in a media release.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22478.79123.330.55
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24643.89178.950.73
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005942.606.100.10
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2967.6328.320.96
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2141.327.840.37
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008295.3425.650.31

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.331 after rising from levels below 97.2 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.89 per dollar after seeing touching levels around 107.1 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6869 after declining from levels above $0.688 yesterday.
Oil prices advanced in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 1.35% higher at $42.07 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 1.47% to $39.41 per barrel.
— CNBC’s Matt Clinch contributed to this report.


______________________________________________________

On Thursday 18, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as coronavirus concerns linger; JD.com shares pop in Hong Kong debut

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to weigh the implications of a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.45% to close at 22,355.46 while the Topix index declined 0.25% to end its trading day at 1,583.09. South Korea’s Kospi also slipped 0.35% to close at 2,133.48.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.29%, as of its final hour of trading. Shares of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com jumped in their Thursday Hong Kong debut, rising more than 3% as compared to the issue price.
Mainland Chinese stocks nudged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite gaining 0.12% to around 2,939.32 while the Shenzhen component added 0.645% to about 11,494.55.
Elsewhere, the Nifty 50 in India rose 0.91% in afternoon trade, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index advanced 0.19%.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.92% to close at 5,936.50. Australia’s unemployment in May rose to 7.1% from a revised 6.4% in April, according to a Thursday release by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was the highest since October 2001, according to Reuters.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.07%.
Investor reaction to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases stateside was watched on Thursday, with the number of coronavirus hospitalizations across Texas surging about 11% in a single day on Wednesday. A coronavirus model once cited by the White House also now projects projects more than 200,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 by Oct. 1.
Over in China, a recent jump in infections in Beijing led the city to cancel flights, close schools as well as block off some neighborhoods, according to Reuters.
“It is unclear how markets should react given the obvious high bar to re-impose restrictions in the US and states across the US are continuing to re-open their economies. High-frequency mobility indicators continue to point towards a pick-up in activity across in the US and including Texas,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Contrasting it against the situation in China, Strickland said authorities in the country are “taking aggressive action” though the approach toward containing the virus’ spread has been “more targeted” as compared to lockdown measures that were imposed in Wuhan — where the disease was first reported — earlier this year.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22355.46-100.30-0.45
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24387.02-94.39-0.39
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005936.50-55.30-0.92
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2939.323.440.12
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2133.48-7.57-0.35
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008264.980.010.00
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that developing Asia will “barely grow” in 2020.
“Economies in Asia and the Pacific will continue to feel the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic this year even as lockdowns are slowly eased and select economic activities restart in a ‘new normal’ scenario,” ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said in the release.
“While we see a higher growth outlook for the region in 2021, this is mainly due to weak numbers this year, and this will not be a V-shaped recovery. Governments should undertake policy measures to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 and ensure that no further waves of outbreaks occur,” Sawada said.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.029 after rising from levels around 96.5 seen earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.89 per dollar, stronger than levels above 107.2 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6871, off highs above $0.693 seen earlier this week.
Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Thursday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.32% to $40.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures, on the other hand, were slightly lower at $37.94 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 17, June 2020

Asia stocks mostly higher as IMF warns of unprecedented crisis; regional geopolitical tensions watched

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia were mostly higher on Wednesday as the International Monetary Fund said the global economy is set to see a more significant contraction than it previously forecast.
Mainland Chinese stocks nudged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.14% to about 2,935.87 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.192% to approximately 11,420.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.25%, as of its final hour of trading.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.14% to close at 2,141.05. India’s Nifty 50 was 0.24% higher in afternoon trade.
Shares in Japan lagged, as the Nikkei 225 shed 0.56% to close at 22,455.76 while the Topix index declined 0.4% to end its trading day at 1,587.09.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia added 0.83% to close at 5,991.80.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.34% higher.
IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said in a Tuesday blog post that “the forthcoming June World Economic Outlook Update is expected to show negative growth rates even worse than previously estimated.” The fund also said the current crisis, which it dubbed the Great Lockdown, is “unlike anything the world has seen before.”
Authorities have imposed lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving most economies essentially frozen. While many countries have begun to ease these measures, it has proven challenging given the looming threat of a potential resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
Meanwhile, trial results announced Tuesday showed dexamethasone — a widely available drug — can help critically ill coronavirus patients. The treatment reportedly reduced Covid-19 deaths in hospitalized patients by up to one third. Globally, more than 8 million people have been infected by the virus while at least 438,171 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In regional economic data, Japan’s exports plunged 28.3% year-on-year in May, according to provisional trade statistics released Wednesday by the country’s Ministry of Finance.
“While we expect the impact of Covid-19 on trade to ease gradually, the near-term outlook remains very challenging,” Stefan Angrick, senior economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note. “Exports are likely to remain under severe pressure as global activity will recover only gradually, although stronger positive momentum in China will provide some support.

Regional geopolitical tensions

Investors likely also continued to watch for developments on the geopolitical front regionally, as tensions escalate along the Korean peninsula after North Korea reportedly destroyed a liaison office with the South. Following that action by the North, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Wednesday that it would no longer accept unreasonable behavior by North Korea, Reuters reported.
Certain Asia-listed defense stocks soared on the back of those developments, with Ishikawa Seisakusho in Japan jumping 14.2% while Victek in South Korea skyrocketed 29.91%. South Korean stocks exposed to North Korea, on the other hand, fell: Hanil Hyundai Cement and Hyundai Elevator tumbled 4.17% and 3.88%, respectively.
The South Korean won also weakened against the greenback, last trading at 1,214.04. Earlier, it had touched a low of 1,218.76 per dollar.
Elsewhere at the Himalayan border, Indian and Chinese troops clashed this week as the two sides remained in conflict, according to a Reuters report. Since early May, hundreds of soldiers have been in a faceoff at three locations, with each side accusing the other of trespassing, the report said.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22455.76-126.45-0.56
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24501.70157.610.65
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005991.8049.500.83
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2935.874.120.14
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2141.053.000.14
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008265.7114.390.17

Oil prices fall

Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.66% to $40.69 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.12% to $37.95 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.883 after touching levels around 96.5 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.31 per dollar after seeing levels around 107 earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6896 after slipping from levels above $0.693 yesterday.
— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 16, June 2020

Japan soars nearly 5% as Asia stocks jump; investors watch central bank developments

Eustance Huang
 
Shares in Asia jumped on Tuesday as investors reacted to recent announcements by central banks.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan surged 4.88% to close at 22,582.21 as shares of robot maker Fanuc skyrocketed 6.74% while the Topix index advanced 4.09% to finish its trading day at 1,593.45. Over in South Korea, the Kospi soared 5.28% to close at 2,138.05.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.64%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.44% to around 2,931.75 while the Shenzhen component added 1.847% to approximately 11,398.97.
Stocks in Australia saw robust gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 3.89% to close at 5,942.30.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 2.83%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22582.211051.264.88
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24390.84613.892.58
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005942.30222.503.89
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2931.7541.721.44
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2138.05107.235.28
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008224.85231.962.90

Central bank watch

Investors on Tuesday likely focused on central bank announcements. In the Reserve Bank of Australia’s minutes of its June monetary policy meeting released Tuesday, the central bank’s board “recognised that the substantial, coordinated and unprecedented easing of fiscal and monetary policy in Australia was helping the economy through this difficult period.”
“It was likely that this fiscal and monetary support would be required for some time,” the RBA minutes said.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan on Tuesday stood pat on its main policy tools. In a statement announcing its monetary policy decision, the central bank said “Japan’s economy is likely to remain in a severe situation for the time being due to the impact of COVID-19 at home and abroad, although economic activity is expected to resume gradually.”
“For the time being, the Bank will closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will not hesitate to take additional easing measures if necessary, and also it expects short- and long-term policy interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels,” the BoJ said.
The U.S. Federal Reserve announced Monday more measures to support the market. The Fed said it would buy individual corporate bonds, marking a broader approach to corporate bond buying. Previously indicating it would eventually buy bonds on the primary market, Monday’s announcement by the U.S. central bank marked an expansion of that into the secondary market.
“I think the reality is that the Federal Reserve, learning from the experience of the global financial crisis, is that they can’t wait for things to happen and then act upon it,” Tai Hui, Asia chief market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “The preemptive nature of a lot of these measures have been positive.”

South Korean won weakens

The South Korean won weakened against the greenback Tuesday afternoon Singapore time, last trading at 1,211.83 per dollar. The moves came as local news agency Yonhap reported, citing military sources, that North Korea appeared to have blown up the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.529 after touching an earlier low of 96.431.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.38 per dollar after seeing highs around 107.1 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6927 after rising from levels below $0.684 yesterday.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.4% to $39.56 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.84% to $36.81 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 15, June 2020

Japan plunges more than 3%, with stocks in Asia dropping as virus fears resurface

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia dropped on Monday as investors weighed the potential impact of recent spikes in coronavirus cases.
In Japan, Nikkei 225 dropped 3.47% to close at 21,530.95 while the Topix index slipped 2.54% to end its trading day at 1,530.78. Over in South Korea, the Kospi plunged 4.76% to close at 2,030.82.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 1.02% to around 2,890.03 while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.528% to about 11,192.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 2.16% to close at 23,776.95.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 2.19% to close at 5,719.80.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dropped 2.21%.
Developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic likely continued to be watched by investors on Monday.
A district in the Chinese capital of Beijing was in a “wartime emergency” after a cluster of infections was found centered around a wholesale market, according to Reuters. Stateside, Texas and North Carolina also reported a record number of virus-related hospitalizations on Saturday.
“As economies reopen, an increase in infection rates is to be expected, the question is whether detecting measures will be efficient enough to allow for localised containment measures without having to shut the whole economy again,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Commenting on the recent outbreak in Beijing, independent analyst Fraser Howie said: “I think a harsh lockdown in the way we’ve seen before is unlikely.”
“I think it’s gonna be much tailored,” Howie told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday. “If nothing else, even the Chinese have realized now that locking up hundreds of millions, if not billions, of healthy people and crashing your economy causes a lot of long-term problems that just aren’t solved by reopening at some point in the future.”
“We’ve had a number of sporadic outbreaks and time and time again, I think (the) Chinese government has proven so far that they’ve been able to contain each successive outbreak to manageable level(s),” Johanna Chua, head of Asia economics and strategy at Citi Global Markets Asia, told CNBC on Monday. “Clearly we still need to watch this but I think at the moment I’m still assuming that they have … good kind of measures in place to … keep it under control.”
“I’m actually a little bit more mindful and watchful of what’s happening in the U.S.,” Chua said, highlighting rising cases in some “major Southern states” as well as lower compliance in social distancing and less severe lockdown measures.
Meanwhile, Chinese economic data for May released Monday missed expectations. Industrial production in the country for that month rose 4.4% year-on-year, less than expectations of a 5% increase by analysts in a Reuters poll. Retail sales declined 2.8% year-on-year in May, worse than expectations of a 2% decrease per a Reuters poll.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21530.95-774.53-3.47
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23776.95-524.43-2.16
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005719.80-128.00-2.19
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2890.03-29.71-1.02
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2030.82-101.48-4.76
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007989.69-185.19-2.27

Oil prices drop

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.86% to $38.01 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dropped 2.95% to $35.19 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.152 after rising from levels below 96.5 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.35 per dollar following a strengthening from levels above 108 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6811 after last week’s slip from levels above $0.693.
— CNBC’s Emma Newburger contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 12, June 2020

Asia Pacific markets drop as South Korea falls more than 2%

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific dropped in Friday afternoon trade after an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid fears of a second wave resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
South Korea’s Kospi led losses among the region’s major markets, dropping around 2% to close at 2,132.30 as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor fell 4.61%. The Kosdaq index also declined around 1.45% to 746.06.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 1.08% by the afternoon as shares of HSBC fell 1.59%. Mainland Chinese stocks also edged lower, with the Shanghai composite closing almost flat to 2,919.74 while the Shenzhen component edged up marginally to close at 11,251.71.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.75% to 22,305.48 while the Topix index fell 1.15% to close at 1,570.68.
Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.89% to close at 5,847.80.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 1.51% lower.
“The market needed a breather,” Shaw and Partners’ Senior Investment Adviser Adam Dawes told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. “We’re really confident and comfortable with a pullback because … it’s somewhat needed going forward.”
“For the Australian market and for Asia markets this is a really good pullback,” Dawes said. ”“It’s now starting to give us some good opportunities to pick up some stocks that we’ve missed out previously.”
Investor reaction to the overnight drop stateside, which saw stocks suffering their biggest one-day plunge since March, was watched on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,861.82 points, or 6.9%, to close at 25,128.17. The S&P 500 slid 5.9% to 3,002.10 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.3%. to end the day at 9,492.73
“Yesterday’s new infection numbers brought the total number of  US COVID19 cases to above two million, with a number of localised hotspots — 18 states are seeing an increase, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and parts of California. And globally, Wednesday’s new case load of 135,000 is the highest daily tally to date,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
“Whether the latest COVID-19 news is fanning concerns about fresh lockdowns with all that entails for economic activity, or (and perhaps more realistic, in the US at least) a more extended period of cautious consumer behaviour, it is doubtless a factor behind the sharp falls in stocks,” Attrill said.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22305.48-167.43-0.75
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24301.38-178.77-0.73
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005847.80-112.80-1.89
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2919.74-1.16-0.04
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2132.30-44.48-2.04
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008163.07-91.96-1.11

Oil prices slip

Oil prices fell further in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 3.32% to $37.28 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 3.60% to $35.04 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.762 after rising from levels around 96 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.07 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 106.57. The Australian dollar was at $0.6858 after plunging from levels above $0.696 observed in the previous trading day.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 11, June 2020

Australia falls 3% following Fed's economic forecast; NetEase jumps in Hong Kong debut

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific fell on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated on Wednesday that it would keep interest rates near zero through 2022.
Shares in Australia were among the biggest losers regionally, with S&P/ASX 200 dropping 3.05% to close at 5,960.60.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 2.82% on the day to 22,472.91 while the Topix index shed 2.2% to close at 1,588.92. Over in South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.86% to finish its trading day at 2,176.78.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 3.38% in afternoon trade.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 1.99% lower, as of its final hour of trading. Shares of Chinese internet giant NetEase surged in their Hong Kong debut on Thursdayjumping more than 5% from their issue price.
Mainland Chinese stocks fell on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.78% to around 2,920.90 and Shenzhen component 0.814% lower at approximately 11,243.62.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index fell 1.69%.
Investor reaction to the Fed’s recent economic forecast was watched on Thursday. The U.S. central bank kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and indicated it does not expect to raise them through 2022. The Fed also expects the U.S. economy to contract by 6.5% in 2020 before expanding by 5% in 2021.
“We think the Fed is gonna keep their foot on the gas until the jobs come back, and there’s a lot of jobs to come back,” Gareth Nicholson, head of fixed income at Bank of Singapore, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday. Using the global financial crisis as an example, Nicholson said it took five years before the level of unemployment went back to pre-crisis levels.
“There is a dispersion between the economy and the markets,” Nicholson said. “The Fed, I think, is looking more at the economy, they’re looking at the unemployment rate which is at record levels. They’re looking at a lot of the production and manufacturing which is still, you know, maybe it’s turning slowly but it’s still struggling.”
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.315 after touching an earlier low of 95.95.
“The (Federal Open Market Committee’s) decisions does not change our view for the USD,” economists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a note. “Once market participants digest the FOMC’s views, we expect the USD to continue along its depreciating path, consistent with a recovery in the world economy.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22472.91-652.04-2.82
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24480.15-569.58-2.27
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005960.60-187.80-3.05
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2920.90-22.86-0.78
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2176.78-18.91-0.86
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008297.50-154.79-1.83

Oil prices drop

Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 3.57% lower at $40.24 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 4.02% to $38.01 per barrel.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.96 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 109 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6908 after seeing an earlier high of $0.7004.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 10, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as China's inflation data misses expectations

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday, as Chinese inflation data for May missed expectations.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.15% higher at 23,124.95 while the Topix index declined 0.23% to finish its trading day at 1,624.71. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.31% higher at 2,195.69.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was fractionally lower, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.42% to around 2,943.75 while the Shenzhen component added 0.457% to about 11,335.86.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed slightly higher at 6,148.40.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 0.34%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI23124.9533.920.15
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25045.95-11.27-0.04
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006148.403.500.06
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2943.75-12.36-0.42
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2195.696.770.31
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008429.9652.210.62
In economic data, China’s inflation data for May missed expectations. Its producer price index for May fell 3.7% from a year earlier, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That was a larger decline that the 3.3% fall expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.  Meanwhile, its consumer price index rose 2.4% year-on-year in May, less than a 2.7% increase estimated by economists in a Reuters poll.

Fed watch

Investors awaited the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s economic forecast, expected on Wednesday stateside.
“The fact that we are going to be finally getting some more clear guidance from (the Fed) is something we’re all anticipating and I think it’s also … one of the reasons that after this incredible risk rally we’ve had in the past weeks, there’s a bit of a pause now to see what happens next,” Garth Bregman, head of investment services for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday.
“I think what most of us are looking for, really, is to see their guidance on whether they’re gonna be targeting specific outcomes on inflation or unemployment … before they take their foot off the stimulus pedal,” Bregman said.

Oil prices drop

Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on Wednesday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.38% to $40.61 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 1.85% to $38.22 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.204 after dropping from levels around 97 yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.37 per dollar following its strengthening from levels above 107.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6981 after touching an earlier low of $0.693.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 9, June 2020

Australian markets jump more than 2% as Asia stocks mostly rise

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mostly higher on Tuesday as investor sentiment continues to remain elevated amid an easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.
Shares in Australia, which returned to trade following a Monday holiday, led gains in the region’s major markets as the S&P/ASX 200 surged 2.44% to close at 6,144.90. The financial subindex rose 4.84% as shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks soared: Commonwealth Bank of Australia was up 5.05%, Westpac jumped 5.8%, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group added 6.22% and National Australia Bank gained 5.08%.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.88%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.62% to around 2,956.11 while the Shenzhen component added 0.611% to about 11,284.24.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.38% lower at 23,091.03 while the Topix index shed 0.14% to end its trading day at 1,628.43. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.21% to close at 2,188.92.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index advanced 1%.
The moves regionally came after an overnight rally stateside saw the S&P 500 erasing its losses and entering positive territory for the year.
Markets have seen recent positive momentum as hopes rise of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the World Bank said Monday that it forecasts the global economy to shrink by 5.2%, representing the deepest recession since the Second World War.
″(The markets) are reflecting both the poor economic conditions but also the policy response,” Gary Dugan, CEO at The Global CIO Office, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.
“The policy response has been front-loaded by putting money into people’s pockets almost immediately, by giving people who’re unemployed some hope that they’re gonna get rehired,” Dugan said. “Those are the kinds of things that’re (an) influence to the market and not these kind of still very bad forecasts that are coming out of both the IMF or World Bank.”
In corporate news, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that the Hong Kong government will bail airline Cathay Pacific out with 30 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.87 billion) in loans and a direct stake. Trading of the Cathay Pacific’s shares in Hong Kong were earlier halted on Tuesday.

Shares of Samsung Group firms mixed

Shares of Samsung Group companies in South Korea were mixed on Tuesday. Industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics was 1.09% higher and Samsung Biologics rose 1.81%, while Samsung C&T dropped 0.88%.
Those shares of Samsung Group companies in South Korea were watched after a court in Seoul rejected an arrest warrant for the conglomerate’s de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, according to local news agency Yonhap.
Previously jailed in 2017 after being found guilty of charges ranging from bribery to embezzlement before being released in February 2018, Lee is under investigation in relation to a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015, a move believed to help him take the reigns of the group from his father, Yonhap reported.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI23091.03-87.07-0.38
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI25074.63297.861.20
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006144.90146.202.44
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2956.1118.340.62
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2188.924.630.21
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008381.8379.030.95

Oil prices edge higher

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.69% to $41.08 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 1.02% to $38.58 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.813 after touching an earlier low of 96.532.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.09 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 109.2 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6958, following an earlier high of $0.7042

______________________________________________________

On Monday 8, June 2020

Asia stocks rise as U.S. jobs data bounces unexpectedly; oil prices up after OPEC+ output cut extension

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia were higher on Monday after U.S. jobs data released Friday showed an unexpected jump, spurring hopes of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 1.37% to close at 23,178.10 as shares of robot maker Fanuc gained 4.01%. The Topix index also rose 1.13% to end its trading day at 1,630.72.
Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.24% to around 2,937.77 while the Shenzhen component rose 0.314% to 11,215.76. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was fractionally higher, as of its final hour of trading.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.11% higher at 2,184.29.
Meanwhile in New Zealand, shares of Air New Zealand skyrocketed 9.15% after the firm announced a target to return to “healthy profits” by late August 2022. Over in Singapore, shares of Singapore Airlines shed earlier gains to drop 1.62% in afternoon trade, with the moves coming after the company announced it had raised more than 10 billion Singapore dollars ($7.18 billion) in fresh liquidity.
Those moves followed a general rise in airline stocks regionally, with Japan Airlines’ stock in Japan gained about 3% while Korean Air Lines in South Korea rose 0.49%. Elsewhere, Hong Kong-listed shares of China Southern Airlines were up 3.66% in afternoon trade. Cathay Pacific, however, lagged as it fell 1.35%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose about 0.3%.
Markets in Australia were closed on Monday for a holiday.
The moves regionally came on the back of Friday’s U.S. jobs print, where the Labor Department said the economy stateside added 2.5 million jobs in May, a record. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast a drop of more than 8 million.
“The US employment report was another one for the history books, with the biggest miss ever relative to expectations,” Jason Wong, senior markets strategist at BNZ Markets, wrote in a note.
“The data are consistent with activity indicators that show a recovery in activity as US lockdowns eased, following the big hole in the economy in April, and give increased confidence that activity is on a clear path upward from here as restrictions have eased further,” Wong said.
“It’s no denying it’s positive to see that number moving in the opposite direction to what it was before,” Kingsley Jones, founder and chief investment officer at Jevons Global, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.
Jones, however, warned that “it’s probably a little bit early to tell how well these numbers will develop over the next month or so.” Pointing out that most of the new jobs were in lower paying roles, he said: “We still have to wait (and) see about how durable these employment gains are.”
Meanwhile, data released over the weekend showed China’s exports contracting in May as demand continued to be depressed by coronavirus lockdowns globally, according to Reuters. Still, the country posted a record trade surplus last month as imports dropped, Reuters reported.
The data came as markets in recent days have gotten a boost amid hopes of an economic recovery as lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic are eased by authorities globally.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI23178.10314.371.37
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24767.21-3.20-0.01
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005998.706.900.12
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2937.776.970.24
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2184.292.420.11
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008297.3329.810.36

Oil prices rise

Oil prices recovered from an earlier slip to rise in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures jumped 1.21% to $42.81 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures advanced 0.81% to $39.87 per barrel. The moves came after OPEC and its oil-producing allies agreed on Saturday to extend the group’s historic production cut for an additional month.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.888 after seeing levels above 97.8 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.44 per dollar after weakening drastically from levels below 108.5 last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.697 after rising from levels below $0.68 last week.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 5, June 2020

Asia Pacific stocks higher ahead of U.S. jobs report; airline stocks mostly soar

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher on Friday as investors awaited the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report expected later in the day stateside.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.74% to close at 22,863.73 while the Topix index added 0.54% to end its trading day at 1,612.48. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.43% to close at 2,181.87 as shares of LG Chem surged 3.95%.
Mainland Chinese stocks gained on the day. The Shanghai composite rose 0.4% to about 2,930.80 while the Shenzhen component added 0.371% to approximately 11,180.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.66%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of HSBC jumping about 3.2%.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.12% higher at 5,998.70.
Airline stocks regionally surged. In Japan, shares of Japan Airlines skyrocketed 9.74% while ANA Holdings jumped 7.06%. Similar gains were seen in South Korea, where Korean Air Lines soared 7.57% while Asiana Airlines gained 4.87%.
In Hong Kong, China Southern Airlines jumped 10.43% in afternoon trade. Shares of Singapore Airlines in Singapore, however, dipped 0.68%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.86%.
Developments on economic stimulus as countries attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic likely continued to be watched. The European Central Bank on Thursday said it will increase in its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme by 600 billion euros.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22863.73167.990.74
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24770.41404.111.66
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005998.706.900.12
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2930.8011.550.40
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2181.8730.691.43
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008259.9072.080.88
Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite saw their first decline in five sessions.
The moves on Wall Street came as the Labor Department said 1.877 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, higher than a Dow Jones estimate of 1.775 million. Investors will now look ahead to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report release, expected at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday.
“Every single leading indicator for non-farm payrolls that we follow signal fewer job losses but a number of these reports saw only small improvements which means that non-farm payrolls, while better could miss expectations,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, wrote in a note.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.53. That followed a decline from levels above 98 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.31 per dollar after weakening from levels below 108 earlier in the trading week.
“To see some dollar weakness and some yen weakness at the same time is not surprising,” Nicolas Sopel, global market strategist at Fitch Solutions, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. This was because both currencies were used as safe-havens during the worst of the crisis in recent months, he said.
If the risk rally continues, Sopel said, the two currencies could see a little “further weakness.”
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6989 after seeing an earlier high of $0.7004.
Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.05% to $40.41 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 0.61% to $37.64 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 4, June 2020

Asia stocks mixed as investors weigh prospects of economic recovery from coronavirus pandemic

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Thursday as investors assessed the prospects of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.36% to close at 22,695.74 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.3% higher at 1,603.82. South Korea’s Kospi also closed 0.19% higher at 2,151.18, adding to its nearly 3% Wednesday gains.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shenzhen component up 0.278% to about 11,139.26. The Shanghai composite, on the other hand, shed 0.14% to around 2,919.25. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.27% lower, as of its final hour of trading.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose by the market close, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.84% to 5,991.80. Australia retail sales for April plunged a seasonally adjusted 17.7% in April, according to data released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index edged 0.1% higher.
“We’re cautiously optimistic on Asia,” said Suresh Tantia, a senior investment strategist at Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific CIO Office. “I think we’ve already seen a strong rally on the back of policy stimulus and also because of the recent weakness in (the) U.S. dollar.”
“It seems like in Asia, the price momentum is shaping the narrative for now, but I think for markets to see a sustainable rally we need to strong signs of economic or earnings recovery,” Tantia told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Thursday.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22695.7481.980.36
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24366.3040.680.17
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005991.8050.200.84
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2919.25-4.12-0.14
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2151.184.180.19
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008181.6443.230.53
Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a three-day winning streak while the S&P 500 notched its first four-day winning streak since early February. The moves on Wall Street came as a Wednesday report from ADP showed private payrolls stateside falling by 2.76 million in May — much less than the 8.75 million expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Oil prices drop

Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 1.33% lower at $39.26 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dropped 1.93% to $36.57 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.546 following its slide from levels above 98 seen earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 109.04 per dollar after weakening sharply earlier  this week from levels below 108. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6893, following its rise from levels below $0.68 seen earlier in the trading week.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 3, June 2020

South Korea jumps nearly 3% as optimism over reopening economies buoys investor sentiment in Asia

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia largely rose on Wednesday, with optimism over the reopening of economies as authorities ease coronavirus-induced lockdown measures.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi led gains among the region’s major markets as it rose 2.87% to close at 2,147, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics skyrocketing 6.03%. The moves came after South Korea on Wednesday unveiled a 35.3 trillion won ($29 billion) supplementary budget, raising the total stimulus to 270 trillion won as it battles the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 also saw decent gains as it advanced 1.29% to finish its trading day at 22,613.76. The Topix index closed 0.72% higher at 1,599.08.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 1.22%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Alibaba soaring 4.5%. Stocks in mainland China closed little changed, with the Shanghai composite fractionally higher at about 2,923.37 while the Shenzhen component dipped slightly to around 11,108.36.
Shares in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.83% on the day to 5,941.60. Australia’s GDP fell 0.3% in seasonally adjusted terms during the March quarter, according to data released Wednesday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics.
Bank stocks in Asia Pacific also jumped amid the investor optimism. In Hong Kong, shares of HSBC gained 2.02% while China Construction Bank rose 0.48%. Meanwhile, Shinhan Financial Group’s stock in South Korea soared 11.72%. Over in Singapore, DBS Group surged 6.83% while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation gained 4.05%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac in Australia jumped 3.25% and 4.36%, respectively.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.75%.
Markets in Thailand were closed on Wednesday for a holiday.
Developments surrounding the reopening of economies likely continued to be monitored by investors on Wednesday.
“Investor remain on an optimistic mood, squarely focused on the prospect of economies reopening supported by COVID-19 stats that broadly speaking continue to suggest reopening plans remain on track,” analysts at National Australia Bank wrote in a note.
Still, Nikko Asset Management’s John Vail warned that the market may have gotten ahead of itself.
“We’ve been positive on the market since mid-March but certainly … all of them have shot way beyond … our targets,” Vail, who is chief global strategist at the firm, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.
“It does look like enthusiasm should be dialed down quite a bit for the market,” Vail said, adding that the upcoming second quarter “earnings warning season” is likely to feature “more negative ones than positive ones.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22613.76288.151.29
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24297.83301.891.26
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005941.60106.501.83
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2923.371.970.07
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2147.0059.812.87
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008122.73104.191.30
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.358 after weakening in recent days following levels above 99.4 seen last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.63 per dollar after seeing an earlier low of 108.84. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6937, continuing its rally from levels below $0.68 seen earlier this week.
Oil prices jumped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.69% to $40.24 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 2.36% to $37.68 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 2, 2020

Asia Pacific stocks higher; investors watch U.S.-China tensions

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Tuesday, with investors continuing to watch for the reopening of economies as coronavirus containment measures are eased.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 1.19% to close at 22,325.61 as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group surged 3.33% while the Topix index finished its trading day 1.21% higher at 1,587.68. South Korea’s Kospi also closed 1.07% at 2,087.19.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index saw gains as well, rising 0.78%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks nudged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.2% to about 2,921.40 while the Shenzhen component was fractionally higher at approximately 11,112.50.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.27% higher at 5,835.10.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.63%.
“The global health and financial crises now appear to be largely under control,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “The high frequency indicators we follow suggest the global economy is recovering from recession , even if a v-shaped recovery is unlikely.”
In a statement released Tuesday announcing the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision to maintain its current policy settings, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said: “Over the past month, infection rates have declined in many countries and there has been some easing of restrictions on activity.”
“If this continues, a recovery in the global economy will get under way, supported by both the large fiscal packages and the significant easing in monetary policies,” Lowe said.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22325.61263.221.19
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23955.63223.110.94
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005835.1015.900.27
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2921.405.970.20
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2087.1922.111.07
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007974.6751.080.64
Developments on recent tensions between the U.S. and China likely weighed on investors sentiment.
Reuters reported Monday, citing sources, that China has told state-owned firms to pause on purchases of soybeans and pork from the U.S. That came on the back of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he would begin taking action to eliminate Hong Kong’s special treatment, following China’s approval of a controversial new national security bill for the city.
Bank of Singapore’s Eli Lee said the purchase targets outlined in the “phase-one” trade deal between Beijing and Washington were “a stretch in any case.”
“With the unexpected impact of the Covid-19 crisis, by our estimates it is now almost impossible that the Chinese will hit these targets,” Lee, who is head of investment strategy at the firm, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Tuesday. “It wouldn’t be surprising that the Chinese are withdrawing purchases, likely to get as much leverage as they can before a renegotiation going forward.”

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.861 after slipping from levels above 98 seen on Monday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.78 per dollar after weakening from levels around 107.4 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6799 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6813.
Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.02% to $38.71 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.73% to $35.70 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 1, June 2020

Hong Kong and Shenzhen stocks surge more than 3% as China's May factory activity expands

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher on Monday as data releases showed China’s factory activity expanding in May.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major indexes, surging 3.36% on the day to close at 23,732.52, with shares of life insurer AIA soaring 5.17%. U.S. President Donald Trump announced Friday he would be taking action to eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong, following China’s approval of a controversial national security bill for the city.
“Admittedly, Trump’s presser on action against China for implementing the Hong Kong Security Bill, which the White House has alleged strips Hong Kong of any autonomy, proved to be more bark than bite,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note.
“With specific and verifiable measures against China appearing to be weak, markets may draw hollow consolation that the US is treading carefully; especially given risks of unintended economic consequences of far more damage being caused to Hong Kong and non-negligible harm to US economic interests,” Varathan said.
Mainland Chinese stocks also saw robust gains on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 2.21% to about 2,915.43 while the Shenzhen component surged 3.314% to around 11,102.15.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.84% higher at 22,062.39 as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 3.85%. The Topix index finished its trading day 0.32% higher at 1,568.75.
South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.75% to close at 2,065.08. Reuters reported Monday that the country’s exports in May fell 23.7% year-on-year. That was worse than expectations in a Reuters poll of a median drop of 22.1% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 closing 1.1% higher at 5,819.20.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index jumped 2.27%.
Investor focus on Monday was likely on Chinese economic data for a better gauge of the state of the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Data released over the weekend by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed factory activity in the country expanding in May, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) coming in at 50.6. That was a decline from the 50.8 print in April and below the 51.0 level expected by analysts, according to Reuters. Still, the figure for May was above the 50 level, which separates expansion from contraction in PMI readings.
Meanwhile, a private survey also showed China’s manufacturing activity expanding in May. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for May came in at 50.7, according to Reuters. That was higher than a 49.6 print expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI22062.39184.500.84
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23732.52771.053.36
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005819.2063.501.10
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2915.4363.082.21
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2065.0835.481.75
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007931.99121.741.56
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.903 after declining from levels above 99.6 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.41 per dollar after seeing turbulent moves last week as it swung from levels above 107.7 to about 107.1. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.674 following its rise from levels below $0.655 in the previous trading week.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.69% to $37.58 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.99% to $35.14 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 29, May 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed after China approves security bill for Hong Kong

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Friday as investors watched for market reaction to China’s controversial national security law for Hong Kong that was approved on Thursday.
Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shenzhen component up 0.869% to about 10,746.08 while the Shanghai composite gained 0.22% to around 2852.35.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.7%, as of its final hour of trading, as shares of HSBC fell 2.97%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.18% on the day to 21,877.89 as shares of robot maker Fanuc fell 2.76%. The Topix index also shed 0.87% to close at 1,563.67.
South Korea’s Kospi fnished its trading day slightly higher at 2,029.60. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.63% to close at 5,755.70 as shares of major banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac dropped.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.17%.
China’s National People’s Congress on Thursday approved a national security bill for Hong Kong, calling into focus the embattled city’s autonomy from China. Hong Kong has a “one, party two systems” principle that allows for it to have additional freedoms not available to mainland Chinese residents.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he would hold a press conference on U.S.-China relations, expected sometime on Friday stateside.
“Tensions between the US and Chinese governments over a security law for Hong Kong continue to escalate,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “We consider the tensions between these two governments over Hong Kong, trade, the coronavirus and the South China sea will not fade.”
Acknowledging that strains between the U.S. and China have been “bubbling in the background for a very long time,” Tribeca Investment Partners’ Jun Bei Liu said “it’s not a great time” for political tensions to rise at a time when the world is already threatened with recession.
“It’s not a great combination,” Liu, who is lead portfolio manager at the firm, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. “It certainly make(s) us much more cautious when you look at, in terms of the new risks, put into the portfolio.”
On the economic data front, Japan’s retail sales fell 13.7% year-on-year in April, according to data released Friday by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. That compared against a median market forecast of a 11.5% decline, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, India is also set to release its gross domestic product for the January to March period at 8:00 p.m. HK/SIN on Friday, where the country is expected to report a sharp slowdown
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21877.89-38.42-0.18
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI22981.25-151.51-0.65
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005755.70-95.40-1.63
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2852.356.130.22
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2029.601.060.05
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007769.52-43.87-0.56
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.238 after an earlier high of 98.547.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.17 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6661, following its rise from levels around $0.66 yesterday.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 28, May 2020

Japan jumps more than 2% as U.S.-China tensions heat up; oil prices fall

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Thursday as mounting U.S.-China tensions weighed on investor sentiment.
Japanese stocks led gains among the major regional markets, with the Nikkei 225 rising 2.32% to close at 21,916.31 as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing jumped 3.7%. The Topix index also advanced 1.8% to finish its trading day at 1,577.34.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 1.11%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent dropping 2.95%. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.33% to about 2,846.22 while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.273% to around 10,653.49.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia jumped 1.32% to close at 5,851.10 after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe told lawmakers that “it is possible that the economic downturn will not be severe as earlier thought.”
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.13% to end its trading day at 2,028.54.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was fractionally lower.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21916.31497.082.32
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23095.43-205.93-0.88
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005851.1076.101.32
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2846.229.420.33
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2028.54-2.66-0.13
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007818.3859.050.76
“Markets have gone from being extremely cheap … and pricing in you know, a very negative economic to … almost pricing in a return to normal, whatever that looks like,” Martin Crabb, chief investment officer at Shaw and Partners, told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Thursday.
“The value that we have seen in markets has almost disappeared and a lot of that’s happened in the past, you know, few trading days,” Crabb said. ”“We’re now looking at highly risky, lower return equity markets.”

Rising U.S.-China tensions

Developments on U.S.-China relations likely continued to be monitored by investors, as tensions between the two economic powerhouses mount.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China, raising questions over the special administrative region’s favorable trade relationship with the U.S. as well as opening up the possibility of sanctions on Chinese officials. Pompeo’s comments came following the proposal of a national security law from Beijing that has spurred protests in Hong Kong.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday also passed legislation condemning China for the detention and torture of Uighur Muslims in the country’s western region of Xinjiang.

Oil prices drop

Oil prices remained lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 2.27% to $33.95 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 3.29% to $31.73 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 98.885 after seeing levels above 99.6 earlier in the trading week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.81 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.6 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6619 after dropping from levels above $0.665 yesterday.
— CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.

_____________________________________________________

On Wednesday 27, May 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as U.S.-China tensions dampen investor sentiment

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors weighed the potential impact of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing against economies reopening, as coronavirus containment measures are eased.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.34% to about 2,836.80 while the Shenzhen composite declined 0.855% to around 1,774.22. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.71%, as of its final hour of trading.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.7% to close at 21,419.23 as shares of robot maker Fanuc surged 2.81%, with the Topix index also adding 0.96% to end its trading day at 1,549.47. Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,031.20.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day slightly lower at 5,775.
Overall, the MSCI Asia-ex Japan index shed 0.28%.
Developments in U.S.-China relations were likely watched by investors on Wednesday. A Bloomberg News report said the U.S. was considering sanctions on Chinese firms and officials over the situation in Hong Kong. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday afternoon he would make an announcement about the administration’s response to China’s actions by the end of this week.
“Mounting US-China tensions bodes ominous for the global economy amid pandemic fragilities,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note.
Aberdeen Standard Investments’ James Thom told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday that he was “not surprised” to see markets being “a little bit more cautious.”
“There are multiple headwinds gathering now ... on multiple fronts and we’ve been cautious ... for some time now,” said Thom, who is senior investment director of Asian equities at the firm. “It feels almost as if the only thing that is propping up markets is the stimulus packages that we’ve seen across the region … and the globe … and this speculation that the lockdown easing … is going to be a success but I think the jury is still out on that front.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21419.23148.060.70
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23260.08-124.58-0.53
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005775.00-5.00-0.09
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2836.80-9.74-0.34
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2031.201.420.07
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007763.6632.610.42
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 99.114 after slipping from levels above 99.2 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.52 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.7 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6644 after rising sharply from levels below $0.66 yesterday.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.6% to $35.59 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.57% to $33.81 per barrel.
— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 26, May 2020

Japan jumps more than 2% as it lifts state of emergency; Asia Pacific stocks surge on vaccine hopes

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific jumped on Tuesday after American biotech firm Novavax said Monday it started the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Japanese shares led gains among major markets in the region, with the Nikkei 225 up 2.55% to close at 21,271.17 as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 4.3%. The Topix index also ended its trading day 2.17% higher at 1,534.73. The moves came after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that the state of emergency will be lifted in the last five of the country’s 47 prefactures, according to state broadcaster NHK.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also saw robust gains, rising 2.08%, as of its final hour of trading. Mainland Chinese stocks advanced on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.01% to about 2,846.55 while the Shenzhen composite soared 2.21% to around 1,789.52.
South Korea’s Kospi also gained 1.76% to close at 2,029.78 as shares of LG Chem surged more than 6%. Meanwhile, shares in Australia jumped, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 2.93% to finish its trading day at 5,780.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.86%.
Investors watched for market reaction to the announcement from Novavax, where the firm said it expects initial results on safety and immune responses in July. That comes on the back of Moderna’s recent report of a positive development in its vaccine trial where all 45 participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.
Globally, more than 5.4 million people have been infected by the coronavirus so far while at least 344,000 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
JPMorgan Asset Management’s Kerry Craig told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday that the market’s focus has shifted “from thinking about the viral risk to think about the political risk” in recent days as U.S.-China tensions reignite.
“As more economies open up, as we see more business surveys, consumer surveys and economic data point to April being the low. You have seen the markets start to recover, look at that light at the … end of the tunnel and then think about better prospects for the markets,” said Craig, who is global market strategist at the firm. That has resulted in markets moving higher despite a “re-invigoration” of political risk, particularly between the U.S. and China, he added.
“Political risk is gonna be with us for some time, it’s gonna add to that market volatility, it really is a case of how much investors are gonna be desensitized to it and rather focusing on the improving economic outlook that comes through and the potential for gains as we enter this new cycle … and the long run return for equities could be potentially possible,” said Craig.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI21271.17529.522.55
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23405.29453.051.97
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005780.00164.402.93
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2846.5528.581.01
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2029.7835.181.76
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007714.85149.121.97
In economic news, Singapore cut its 2020 economic forecasts for the third time this year. The Singapore economy is now expected to shrink by between 4.0% and 7.0% this year, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 99.575 after declining from levels above 100 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.85 per dollar following a weakening from levels below 107.2 in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6588 after dipping from highs above $0.658 seen last week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.45% to $36.40 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 3.73% to $34.49 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 25, May 2020

Asia markets trade mostly higher as China's National People's Congress continues

Saheli Roy Choudhury

Asia markets traded mostly higher on Monday as investor sentiment remained resilient despite growing concerns over the U.S.-China relationship. 
Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 rose 118.60 points, or 2.16%, to 5,615.60, with all sectors finishing up. 
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index added 353.49 points, or 1.73%, to 20,741.65 while the Topix index was up 24.40 points, or 1.65%, to 1,502.20. 
The country is expected to lift a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, which would ease restrictions on economic activity in Tokyo and four other prefectures, Kyodo News reported, adding an advisory panel endorsed the government’s plan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to make a final decision at a press conference, according to Kyodo News.  
More than 5.4 million people worldwide have now been infected by the virus, which was first reported in China’s Hubei province, and more than 345,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 
South Korea’s Kospi gained 24.47 points, or 1.24%, to 1,994.60. 
Mainland Chinese shares traded mixed: The Shanghai composite rose 0.15% to 2,817.97, the Shenzhen composite was fractionally lower at 1,750.82 and the Shenzhen component was down 0.11% at 10,592.84.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index retraced earlier losses of more than 1% to trade down 0.12%, extending Friday’s losses of more than 5%
Asia Pacific markets declined on Friday after China announced a new national security law, which, if implemented, would give Beijing more control over Hong Kong and may incite further pro-democracy protests in the city. The draft measure was announced as China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) — the country’s parliament — kicked off its annual session and will last until May 28. 
“Risk sentiment proved resilient, on Friday night, to concerns about the fallout from China introducing national security legislation in Hong Kong. Weakness in Asian equities gave way to a flattish European session, and mild positivity in the US,” Hayden Dimes at ANZ Research said in a Monday morning note. 
Government departments in Hong Kong rallied behind Beijing’s plans on Monday after thousands took to the streets to protest over the weekend, Reuters reported. Security Chief John Lee said “terrorism” was growing in the city and activities that harm national security became more rampant, the news wire said. 
TICKER COMPANY NAME PRICE CHANGE %CHANGE
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20741.65353.491.73
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI22892.67-37.47-0.16
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005615.60118.602.16
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2817.974.200.15
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1994.6024.471.24
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007554.8346.910.62
Still, China’s announcement drew criticism from U.S. officials. White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien said on Sunday that if Beijing goes ahead with implementing the controversial law, the U.S. government will likely impose sanctions on China
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on Sunday that some political forces in the United States were taking the bilateral relation “hostage” and pushing the two economic powerhouses to the brink of “a ‘new Cold War’,” according to an official English translation of his remarks posted by the foreign ministry. 
Markets in Singapore, India and Indonesia were shut due to public holidays. 
The U.S. dollar traded at 99.906 against a basket of its peers at 3:17 p.m. HK/SIN, a touch higher than its previous close at 99.863. 
Currency strategists at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a morning note that the dollar faces upside risks this week. “Rising tensions can put the US-China Phase One trade deal at risk. Although not our central scenario, if the US or China were to withdraw from the Phase One deal, (the dollar) would sharply appreciate,” they wrote. 
The Japanese yen changed hands at 107.71 per dollar, strengthening from levels near 108 in the previous week. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar traded down 0.2% at $0.6522. 
Oil prices traded higher on Monday during Asian hours. U.S. crude rose 1.02% to $33.59 a barrel while global benchmark Brent traded up 0.34% at $35.25 as of 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN. 

______________________________________________________

On Friday 22, May 2020

Hong Kong plunges more than 5% as Beijing plans to impose new security laws

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific fell in Friday afternoon trade as tensions between the U.S. and China rise.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among the region’s major markets as it plummeted 5.5%, as of its final hour of trading.
China is poised to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong after months of anti-government protests in the Chinese-ruled city. The move has sparked concerns that Beijing is tightening its grip on Hong Kong, and there are worries it could trigger another wave of pro-democracy protests.
The draft law was announced at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC), the Chinese parliament, which kicked off on Friday.
The laws would reportedly ban secession, foreign interference, terrorism and all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government and any external interference in the former British colony.
“Justifiably, the Hong Kong Security bill on the agenda for the NPC in Beijing today evokes insecurity in the markets; as risks of US China conflict and renewed Hong Kong protests grow,” analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note.
Acknowledging that the development was a “source of concern,” OCBC Bank’s Vasu Menon told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that the last few years have shown that political developments “don’t have a significant impact” in the medium to long term unless they result in an economic impact.
“For now of course it’s grabbing headlines, but we’ve seen this happen before and while it might impact the Hong Kong market, I’m not sure whether it will spillover into the rest of Asia, rest of the world unless it’s results in a significant economic impact as Covid-19 has,” said Menon, who is executive director of investment strategy, wealth management Singapore at OCBC Bank.
Mainland Chinese stocks also declined, with the Shanghai composite down more than 1% while the Shenzhen component shed 2.22%.
Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.8% lower at 20,388.16 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.9% lower at 1,477.80. Over in South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.41% to close at 1,970.13.
Shares in Australia also declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 closing 0.96% lower at 5,497.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dropped 2.68%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20388.16-164.15-0.80
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI22929.01-1351.02-5.56
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005497.00-53.40-0.96
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2813.77-54.16-1.89
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1970.13-28.18-1.41
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007558.29-181.18-2.34

China: No 2020 GDP target

China said it will not set a GDP target for 2020.
“I would like to point out that we have not set a specific target for economic growth this year,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in an English-language text of the work report delivered on Friday. “This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.” 
That comes as tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen in recent days, over issues such as the coronavirus pandemic as well as a bill that was passed which could force Chinese firms to delist on U.S. exchanges.
“The temperature of US China tensions are rising and taking a bite out of risk sentiment everywhere, albeit only modestly so at this stage,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

Oil prices plunge

Oil prices dropped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 4.69% to $34.37 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 5.98% to $31.89 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.593 after seeing a decline this week from levels above 100.
The Japanese yen traded 107.34 per dollar, off lows around 108 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6516 after touching levels above $0.658 yesterday.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 21, May 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mostly dip as investors watch reopening of economies

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly declined on Thursday as investors continued to monitor the reopening of economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mainland Chinese stocks dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.55% lower at around 2,867.92 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.94% to 10,845.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.51%, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.21% lower at 20,552.31 while the Topix index finished its trading day 0.23% lower at 1,491.21. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.44% to close at 1,998.31.
Shares in Australia slipped by the close, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.41% to 5,550.40.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.24% lower.
Japan’s trade data for April released by the country’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday showed exports in April plunging 21.9% as compared to a year earlier. That was less than the 22.7% drop predicted by economists in a Reuters poll.
Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note prior to the release that economic data “continues to take a back seat as markets look to higher frequency data to gauge how quickly activity is returning.”
“All eyes on the global PMIs to see whether economic activity troughed in April and if the easing of lockdown restrictions is seeing a bounce back in activity as indicated by the high frequency data such as Apple/Google mobility indicators,” Strickland said.
Investors also likely continued to watch for developments on the coronavirus pandemic, as the World Health Organization said the number of newly reported cases globally hit a daily record this week, amid authorities around the world attempting to ease lockdown measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread.
Markets had gotten a boost earlier in the week after Moderna announced a positive development for a potential coronavirus vaccine. On Wednesday, in response to a STAT News report that vaccine experts were skeptical of Moderna’s new vaccine data, the firm’s chairman told CNBC that it would never put out data on its potential vaccine for the coronavirus that was different from “reality.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20552.31-42.84-0.21
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24280.03-119.92-0.49
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005550.40-22.60-0.41
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2867.92-15.81-0.55
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1998.318.670.44
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007757.52-25.83-0.33
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 369.04 points higher, or 1.5%, at 24,575.90. The S&P 500 advanced 1.7% to 2,971.61, its highest closing level since March 6. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, rallying 2.1% to finish its trading day at 9,375.78. Wednesday’s advance stateside put the major averages up more than 3% for the week.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.303 after touching levels around 99 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.83 per dollar after touching levels below 107.5 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6562 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6599.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.34% to $36.23 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 1.76% to $34.08 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 20, May 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mixed as China keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as China’s benchmark lending rate was left unchanged.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.79% to close at 20,595.15 while the Topix index gained 0.58% to end its trading day at 1,494.69. South Korea’s Kospi ended its trading day 0.46% higher at 1,989.64.
Mainland Chinese stocks edged lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.51% lower at around 2,883.74 and the Shenzhen component down 0.94% to 10,948.48. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.1%, as of its final hour of trading.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.24% to close at 5,573.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was slightly higher.
The moves came as China’s 1-year loan prime rate (LPR) was left unchanged at 3.85%, while the 5-year LPR stood pat at 4.65%. That was largely in line with expectations from a Reuters survey of traders and analysts, where a majority forecasted no changes in either rate at the monthly fixing on Wednesday.
“We didn’t get any easing today on the LPR, loan prime rate, but I think that’s just a matter of time,” Mitul Kotecha, senior emerging markets strategist at TD Securities, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Wednesday. For his part, Kotecha said he expected more easing in rates such as the LPR and reserve requirement ratio.
“I don’t think China is done, by any means,” Kotecha said. “I think the growth slowdown is just really getting … into action here and we’ve already had warnings about a weakening in trade in the next few months, so I think that certainly should be taken at face value now.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20595.15161.700.79
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24347.75-40.38-0.17
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005573.0013.500.24
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2883.74-14.84-0.51
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1989.649.030.46
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007766.278.980.12
Investors also watched for market reaction to a STAT News report released overnight that raised concerns about the trial results for a potential coronavirus vaccine from Moderna. That initial positive development had sent markets rallying earlier in the week.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.452 following its decline from levels above 100 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.71 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.5 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.654 after seeing an earlier low of $0.6523.
Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up fractionally at $34.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures, on the other hand, dipped 0.28%  to $31.87 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 19, May 2020

Asia stocks jump as hopes of a coronavirus vaccine rise

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia jumped on Tuesday as hopes rise on a potential coronavirus vaccine after a promising development from a Moderna trial.
South Korea’s Kospi surged 2.25% to close at 1,980.61, with shares of automaker Hyundai Motor skyrocketing 7.83%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 ended its trading day 1.49% higher at 20,433.45 as shares of robot maker Fanuc soared 3.99%. The Topix index also gained 1.83% to close at 1,486.05.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.06%, as of their final hour of trade, with shares of HSBC soaring about 3.5%. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higheer on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.81% to about 2,898.58 while the Shenzhen component gained 1.21% to 11,052.85.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.81% to close at 5,559.50.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.84%.
In corporate news, shares of Thai Airways skyrocketed nearly 12% after the country’s cabinet approved a plan for the airline to go to bankruptcy court for debt restructuring, Reuters reported Tuesday citing the Thai prime minister.
The moves came following overnight developments after Moderna reported “positive” phase one results for a potential coronavirus vaccine. The company said that after two doses all 45 trial participants had developed coronavirus antibodies.
“I hope … we find the vaccine in record time and everything is rosy again but the underlying reality is still very shaky,” Hugh Young, managing director for the Asia Pacific region at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.
Commenting on the market rally following that positive development from Moderna, Young said: “It might well have legs short-term but I think the reality that we’re going to see over coming weeks is the effect on corporate earnings and corporate health. The second quarter this year is going to be pretty terrible for economies worldwide … and for most corporates.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping also said Monday that his country will provide $2 billion over two years to help other countries combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20433.45299.721.49
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24409.31474.541.98
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005559.5099.001.81
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2898.5823.160.81
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1980.6143.502.25
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007758.00132.431.74
Meanwhile, minutes from the the Reserve Bank of Australia’s May monetary policy meeting released Tuesday showed that its Board “would not increase the cash rate target until progress is made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2-3 per cent target band.”
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 1.32% to $35.27 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 2.92% to $32.75 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.45 after falling from levels above 100 yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.43 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.2 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6552, following its ascent from levels below $0.65 yesterday.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 18, May 2020

Asia stocks little changed; Fed Chair Powell assesses prospects of U.S. economic recovery

Eustance Huang

Major markets in Asia were little changed on Monday as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy stateside may need a coronavirus vaccine to fully recover.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.24% to about 2,875.42 while the Shenzhen composite shed 0.427% to approximately 1,800.84. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was 0.5%, as of its final hour of trading.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.48% higher at 20,133.73 while the Topix index rose 0.38% to end its trading day at 1,459.29. South Korea’s Kospi also advanced 0.51% to close at 1,937.11.
Meanwhile in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day 1.03% higher at 5,460.50.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was fractionally higher.
Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours on expectations of demand pick-up and supply cuts. International benchmark Brent crude futures rose 4.34% to $33.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 5.78% to $31.13 per barrel.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20133.7396.260.48
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23935.88138.410.58
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005460.5055.701.03
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2875.426.960.24
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1937.119.830.51
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007573.183.520.05
Investors watched for reaction to Powell’s recent comments to CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
“Assuming there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of the year,” the central bank chief said. However, he added that “for the economy to fully recover ... that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.”
“There is no question that the outlook remains grim,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. “US-China friction and the inability to plot a path of recovery from COVID leave much up in the air; and arguably, a little much reliance on policy silver bullets to deliver respite.”
On the economic data front, the Japanese economy contracted at an annualized rate of 3.4% between January and March, according to data released Monday by the country’s Cabinet Office. That was less than a median estimate of a 4.6% decline by economists in a Reuters poll. Still, the shrinking of the economy marked the country’s second straight quarter of contraction, meeting the technical definition of a recession, according to Reuters.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.338 after seeing highs around 100.5 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.19 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.6 seen early last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6441 following a decline from levels above $0.65 in the previous week.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 15, May 2020

Asia markets little changed as data shows China's April industrial output rose more than expected

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia were little changed on Friday as data showed China’s industrial output bouncing back more than expected in April.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite slightly lower at around 2,868.46 while the Shenzhen composite added 0.159% to about 1,808.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index hovered around the flatline, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.62% higher at 20,037.47 while the Topix index rose 0.5% to end its trading day at 1,453.77.
South Korea’s Kospi added 0.12% to close at 1,927.28. Shares in Australia saw gains on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.43% to 5,404.80 as shares of major miner BHP jumped 3.46%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.19%.
On the economic data front, China’s industrial output rose 3.9% year-on-year in April, according to data released Friday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. That marked the first expansion in the metric for this year from China. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected industrial output for April to rise 1.5%. Retail sales, however, fell 7.5% in April. That was a larger fall than the 7% decline forecast, according to Reuters.
Data from China has been watched by investors has been watched for signs of where the country, where the first cases of the coronavirus pandemic were reported, has managed to restart its economy following lockdown measures implemented earlier in the year.
“Going forward, the ensuing global recession will weigh on China’s recovery,” Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note.
Still, Kuijs acknowledged that China’s growth “now relies largely on domestic demand.” He said household consumption momentum “improved substantially” in April though it “remained the weakest link.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20037.47122.690.62
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23797.47-32.27-0.14
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005404.8076.101.43
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2868.46-1.88-0.07
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1927.282.320.12
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007560.6620.500.27
Overnight on Wall Street, the  Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 377.37 points higher at 23,625.34 while the S&P 500 ended its trading day 1.15% higher at 2,852.50. The Nasdaq Composite closer 0.9% higher at 8,943.72. Thursday’s moves stateside, however, still left the major averages on track for their worst weekly performance since March 20. 

Oil prices jump

Oil prices surged in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract added 3.76% to $32.30 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 3.37% to $28.49 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.358 after touching levels around 100.5 yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.17 per dollar after weakening from levels around 106.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6453, off highs above $0.654 seen earlier this week.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 14, May 2020

Japan falls nearly 2% as fears of coronavirus economic fallout continue to grip investors

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia fell on Thursday as a data release showed employment in Australia falling in April.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.74% to close at 19,914.78 while the Topix index also shed 1.91% to finish its trading day at 1,446.55. South Korea’s Kospi also declined 0.8% to close at 1,924.96.
Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower, with the Shanghai composite down 0.96% to around 2,870.34 while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.941% to approximately 1,805.70.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.43%, as of its final hour of trading.
Shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent in Hong Kong shed most of their gains but held fractionally higher. The stock had earlier seen a more than two year high after the firm posted its first-quarter earnings which beat expectations. Online games revenue grew 31% year-on-year to 37.3 billion yuan. Total smartphone game revenue came in at 34.7 billion yuan for the March quarter. Analysts at investment bank Jefferies had expected a revenue figure of  31.6 billion yuan.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 1.72% lower at 5,328.70.
Overall, the MSCI Asia-ex Japan index slipped 1.31%.
On the economic data front, seasonally adjusted employment in Australia fell by 594,300 people in April as compared to March, according to data released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19914.78-352.27-1.74
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23832.93-347.37-1.44
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005328.70-93.20-1.72
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2870.34-27.71-0.96
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1924.96-15.46-0.80
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007542.96-106.73-1.40
Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that more may need to be done to support the economy.
“While the economic response has been both timely and appropriately large, it may not be the final chapter, given that the path ahead is both highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks,” Powell said in prepared remarks for a webcast event with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.357 after rising from levels below 100 yesterday.
“The mid-week rise in the USD index (DXY) to 100.2 was not solely attributed to the Fed Chairman Powell’s push back against negative US interest rates,” strategists at Singapore’s DBS Group wrote in a Thursday note. “His warning of a possible deeper and longer recession without additional fiscal stimulus dampened risk appetite.”
“Put simply, the stimulus measures that propelled markets in April are still insufficient to ensure recovery,” the strategists said. “Optimism from the reopening of economies has also been marred by fears of a second wave of infections and President Trump’s China bashing ahead of the US elections in November.”
The Japanese yen traded at 106.82 after seeing an earlier low of 107.08. The Australian dollar was at $0.6442 after weakening from highs above $0.654 seen earlier in the trading week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.26% to $29.85 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 2.33% to $25.88 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox and Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 13, May 2020

Stocks in Asia little changed as investors weigh risks of new virus infections

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were little changed on Wednesday as caution remained over a recent resurgence in coronavirus cases in certain countries regionally as they start to reopen their economies.
Mainland Chinese stocks nudged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.22% to about 2,898.05 while the Shenzhen composite added 0.669% to around 1,822.85. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was largely flat, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.49% to close at 20,267.05 while the Topix index also shed 0.14% to end its trading day at 1,474.69. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.95% higher at 1,940.42.
Meanwhile the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia added 0.35% to finish its trading day at 5,421.90.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.34%.
Developments on the coronavirus front likely continued to weigh on investor sentiment. Globally, more than 4.2 million people have been infected while at least 291,366 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Stateside, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday a vaccine will be essential in stopping the coronavirus spread, but warned it will be a while before a usable one is available. He also cautioned that the U.S. could risk additional outbreaks if states start to reopen too quickly.
In Asia, where the coronavirus first hit, several countries including China and South Korea have experienced an uptick in cases after restrictions were eased.
“The market appears to be ignoring the decline in earnings and the deterioration of economic conditions,” César Pérez Ruiz, Head of Investments & Chief Investment Officer at Pictet Wealth Management, wrote in a note. “We see significant risks remaining as economies attempt to reopen and remain underweight equities overall.”
Still, Ruiz said that the firm remains “positive on Asia and particularly China within emerging markets.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20267.05-99.43-0.49
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24201.34-44.34-0.18
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005421.9018.900.35
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2898.056.490.22
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1940.4218.250.95
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007642.671.400.02
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 457.21 points lower at 23,764.78 while the S&P 500 dropped about 2.1% to end its trading day at 2,870.12. The Nasdaq Composite also fell more than 2% to close at around 9,002.55.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.57% to $29.51 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.31% to $25.70 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.983 after trading above and below the 100 mark so far this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.07 per dollar, off levels above 107.4 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6476 following highs above $0.654 seen earlier in the trading week.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 12, May 2020

Asia stocks slip as China's inflation data misses expectations; Toyota forecasts profit plunge

Eustance Huang

Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets were lower on Tuesday, as Chinese inflation data for April missed expectations.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.48%, as of its final hour of trading.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.12% to close at 20,366.48 while the Topix index slipped 0.26% to end its trading day at 1,476.72. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.68% lower at 1,922.17.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.11% to about 2,891.56 while the Shenzhen composite rose 0.332% to around 1,810.73.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times index declined 0.99% in afternoon trade.
Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 1.07% to close at 5,403.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.95%.
“It’s hard to see equities powering further higher,” Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of research for Asia-Pacific at ING, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. He said much of the boost that the markets had gotten was attributable to the “extraordinary accomodative monetary policies and fiscal policies that governments around the world ... have been throwing at their ecoomies.”
“Surely we’ve had just about all we’re gonna get of those,” Carnell said. “Any further dollops of stimulus are gonna be fairly marginal.”
On the economic data front, China’s inflation for April released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics missed expectations. The consumer price index for April rose 3.3% year-on-year, versus expectations of a  3.7% increase in a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, China’s producer price index for April  declined 3.1% year-on-year, as compared to a 2.6% fall expected in a Reuters poll.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20366.48-24.18-0.12
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24245.91-356.15-1.45
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005403.00-58.20-1.07
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2891.56-3.25-0.11
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1922.17-13.23-0.68
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007646.17-61.14-0.79
In corporate earnings, Japanese automaker Toyota posted a 1% year-on-year decrease in its operating income for the 2020 fiscal year. In particular, the firm also forecast a 79.5% year-on-year plunge in its operating income for the 2021 fiscal year. Shares of Toyota in Japan slipped 1.97% on Tuesday.
“There is concern that there will be a sharp decline in many countries and regions due to the impact of COVID-19. The production and sales of automobiles have already been greatly affected. We hope that the outbreak will be contained as early as possible,and the entire Toyota group will work as one to deal with this issue,” Toyota said in its earnings report.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.14 after rising from levels below 100 seen yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.57 per dollar after seeing an earlier low of 107.69. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.648 after its decline from levels above $0.654 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.79% to $30.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 2.78% to $24.81 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 11, May 2020

Hong Kong jumps nearly 2% as hopes rise on economies reopening 

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia traded higher on Monday afternoon as hopes rise on economies reopening, even as U.S. reported record job losses in April.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major markets as it surged 1.72%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.41% in afternoon trade while the Topix index gained 1.64%.
Mainland Chinese shares, on the other hand, were mixed by the afternoon. The Shanghai composite rose 0.13% while the Shenzhen composite dipped fractionally. South Korea’s Kospi also dipped 0.27%.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia traded in positive territory, with the S&P/ASX 200 gaining 1.48%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan gained 0.91%.
Investors continue to watch for developments on the coronavirus front amid hopes of global economies reopening as social distancing measures are eased. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined over the weekend a “conditional plan” to slowly reopen society and the economy. Disney is also set to reopen its Disneyland theme park in Shanghai on Monday.
Still, caution is likely to remain. South Korea warned on Sunday of a potential second wave of cases, according to Reuters. That came days after the country, praised for its rapid response to stem the spread of an initial outbreak, eased restrictions.
“I think it’s pretty clear that if you open too fast, it’s going to have significant consequences,” Michael Yoshikami, founder and CEO of Destination Wealth Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “I think there is going to be a reckoning that people realize that we really are making a trade off and the question that has to be asked: Is that trade off really worth it?”
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warned that the jobless numbers could “get worse before they get better.” He said Sunday that the unemployment rate stateside may have already reached 25% as the administration seeks to reopen the country’s economy. Mnuchin’s comments came after the U.S. on Friday reported a record 20.5 million job losses in April.
Globally, more than 4 million people have been infected while at least 282,553 lives have been taken, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.747 after seeing levels above 100 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.93 per dollar after weakening from levels below 106.2 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.6546 after rising from levels below $0.64 in the previous trading week.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.23% to $30.59 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.25% to $24.43 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 8, May 2020

Japan jumps more than 2% as Asia stocks rise ahead of US jobs report

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia rose on Friday ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs report for April, expected later in the day stateside.
Japanese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 jumping 2.56% to close at 20,179.09 as shares of index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank Group each rose more than 3%. The Topix index also surged 2.21% to end its trading day at 1,458.28.
Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day with the Shanghai composite up 0.83% to about 2,895.34 while the Shenzhen composite gained 1.172% to around 1,809.17. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also added 0.89%, as of its final hour of trading.
South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.89% to close at 1,945.82 while the Kosdaq index soared 2.11% to finish its trading day at 682.30. Shares in Australia also edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 rising 0.5% to close at 5,391.10.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 1.07%.
The Reserve Bank of Australia on Friday released its statement on monetary policy, where it highlighted that global GDP is “expected to fall sharply in the first half of 2020.”
“The declines in the March quarter were driven by a contraction in Chinese and euro area activity as well as the rollout of containment measures elsewhere late in the quarter,” the report said. “A further fall in global GDP is expected in the June quarter, with many countries expected to record quarterly declines in GDP.”
“We shouldn’t expect to see a V-shaped recovery,” Sat Duhra, portfolio manager of Asia dividend income strategy at Janus Henderson Investors, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. “We’ve seen a bit of a V-shaped recovery in markets but that’s not how the real economy will behave.”
“When we think about the U.S. and we’re talking about you know … one month worth of jobs data erasing nearly a decade worth of jobs gains and that’s pretty incredible stuff,” Duhra said. “You cannot expect those people just to walk back into a job when shops and businesses start to open in the next few months.”
The investor’s comments came ahead of the U.S. employment report for April, expected at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Economists expect that more than 20 million jobs were lost last month, according to Dow Jones.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20179.09504.322.56
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24229.40248.771.04
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005391.1026.900.50
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2895.3423.820.83
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1945.8217.210.89
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007626.9997.491.29
Overnight on Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite closed 1.4% higher at 8,979.66, leaving it up nearly 0.1% for the year — erasing all its losses for 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher on Thursday by 211.25 points, or 0.9%, at 23,875.89. The S&P 500 gained 1.2% to close at 2,881.19.
Thursday marked the first time one of the major averages stateside was up year to date since the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of nonessential businesses, sparking massive layoffs and a historic market sell-off.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.772 after slipping from levels above 100 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.35 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 107 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6527 after rising sharply from levels below $0.642 yesterday.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 2.82% at $30.29 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 4.46% to $24.60 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Patti Domm contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 7, May 2020

Asia stocks little changed as data shows China's exports unexpectedly rose in April

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific were little changed on Thursday as a data release showed China’s exports for April exceeding expectations, though a private survey showed the country’s services sector slumping in the same month.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 0.28% to close at 19,674.77 as shares of Tokyo Electron jumped 3.16% while the Topix index shed 0.32% to end its trading day at 1,426.73. South Korea’s Kospi closed largely flat at 1,928.61.
Mainland Chinese stocks dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.23% lower at about 2,871.52 while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.115% to around 1,788.21. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.74%, as of its final hour of trading.
Shares in Australia slipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 closing 0.38% lower at 5,364.20.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 0.32%. Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed on Thursday for holidays.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19674.7755.420.28
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23980.63-156.85-0.65
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005364.20-20.40-0.38
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2871.52-6.62-0.23
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1928.61-0.15-0.01
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007522.64-31.61-0.42
On the economic data front, China reported Thursday that its dollar-denominated exports rose but imports fell in April as movement restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak were eased.
Data from the General Administration of Customs released on Thursday showed exports rose 3.5% from a year ago while imports fell 14.2% in the same period. Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to have fallen 15.7% in April from a year earlier while imports were expected to have fallen 11.2% from a year earlier.
“Goods exports were much better than expected in April,” economists at Oxford Economics wrote in a note. Still, they warned: “We think the pick-up in exports is temporary and export momentum will fall in the coming months.”
“The outlook for exports is clearly challenged by faltering external demand as China’s key trading partners fall into a deep recession due to the effects of lockdowns and social distancing measures adopted amid the coronavirus spread,” the economists said.
Meanwhile, China’s Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for April showed that the country’s services sector slumped for the third straight month, as layoffs hit a record, according to Reuters. It came in at 44.4, an improvement from the 43 reading in March — but still off the 50-level that separates growth from contraction.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell for the first time in three days.
The moves stateside came as a report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics showed private payrolls were cut by 20.2 million last month — the worst print in the data series’ history. Still, that was not as bad as a Dow Jones estimate of 22 million job losses.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded 101.132 after crossing the 100 mark yesterday.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.22 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 106.5 seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6438 after seeing an earlier low of $0.6375.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.31% to $29.33 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 1.42% to $23.65 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 6, May 2020

Asia stocks rise; oil prices pare gains following surge

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia rose on Wednesday oil prices retraced some of their overnight gains.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.76% to close at 1,928.76 as shares of automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 1.86%. The Kosdaq index also rose 2.57% to end its trading day at 658.40.
Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day, recovering from an earlier dip. The Shanghai composite was 0.63% higher to about 2,878.14 while the Shenzhen composite gained 1.526% to around 1,790.28. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.34%, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of life insurer AIA jumping more than 2%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.42% to close at 5,384.60.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.76%.
On the economic data front, Australia’s retail sales in March rose 8.5%, according to data released Wednesday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was above expectations of a 8.2% increase from a Reuters poll.
Markets in Japan and Thailand were closed on Wednesday for holidays.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19619.35-574.34-2.84
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24153.03284.371.19
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005384.60-22.50-0.42
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2878.1418.060.63
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1928.7633.391.76
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007558.3835.840.48

Oil prices pare gains 

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours after rising earlier. International benchmark Brent crude futures dipped 0.29% to $30.88 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 1.06% to $24.30 per barrel.
The moves came after oil prices surged on Tuesday as they got a boost from optimism around ongoing production cuts and a recovery in demand as economies reopen. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, jumped 20.45%, or $4.17, to settle at $24.56 per barrel. Brent settled 13.86% higher at $30.97 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.816 after rising from levels below 99.5 seen earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.31 per dollar following levels around 106.8 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.644 after rising from levels below $0.642 earlier in the trading week.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 5, May 2020

Stocks in Hong Kong rise as the city's economy takes a hit in first quarter

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose n Tuesday, with major markets regionally closed for holidays.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.15% in afternoon trade after closing more than 4% lower on Monday. The city’s government announced on Monday that Hong Kong’s economy contracted 8.9% in the first quarter as compared to a year ago — its largest decline on record since 1974.
In a statement, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the “external environment is still very challenging” even though the virus situation in the city “seems to be under control.”
“Going forward in the second quarter, we believe that even if there is improvement, the improvement will be gradual and small,” Chan said.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.64% to close at 5,407.10, with shares of major banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac all advancing. That came as the Reserve Bank of Australia announced Tuesday its decision to maintain policy.
“Globally, financial markets are working more effectively than they were a month ago, although conditions have not completely normalised,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement announcing the central bank’s decision. “The Board will not increase the cash rate target until progress is being made towards full employment and it is confident that inflation will be sustainably within the 2–3 per cent target band.”
Elsewhere, Singapore’s Straits Times index gained 0.78%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.87%.
On the economic data front, Indonesia’s first-quarter GDP print came in below expectations, according to Reuters. GDP in the first quarter rose 2.97% on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter,as compared to expectations of a 4.04% increase in a Reuters poll. The Jakarta Composite last traded 0.43% higher.
Markets in China, Japan and South Korea are closed on Tuesday for holidays.
Investors also continued to watch for developments on the global coronavirus pandemic as authorities around the world begin taking steps to unroll social distancing measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread. That, however, comes amid rising U.S.-China tensions.
AMP Capital Investor’s Shane Oliver told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday that it’s “way too early” to say that markets are “gonna go straight up from here.”
“I think we are gonna see some pretty some pretty tough data globally, in Australia as well (as) Asia, over the next few months,” said Oliver, who is head of investment strategy and chief economist at the firm. “I think it’s a time to wait for better opportunities to buy into the market.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19619.35-574.34-2.84
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23900.78286.981.22
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2005407.1087.301.64
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI2860.0837.641.33
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI1895.37-52.19-2.68
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007515.7449.190.66
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.572 after seeing an earlier low of 99.361.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.76 per dollar after seeing levels around 107 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6446 after crossing the $0.654 level last week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 6.58% to $28.99 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also jumped 9.66% to $22.36 per barrel.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 4, May 2020

Hong Kong falls about 4% as US-China tensions weigh on investor sentiment

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia fell on Monday, as reigniting tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on investor sentiment, with major markets regionally closed for holidays.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 3.99% in afternoon trade, with shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent falling more than 3%.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi fell 2.68% to close at 1,895.37. Singapore’s Straits Times index dropped 2.08% while the Nifty 50 in India plunged 4.93%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 bucked the overall trend as it recovered from its earlier slip to close 1.41% higher at 5,319.80. Shares of major bank Westpac gained 2.8% despite the firm earlier announcing a profit plunge in its first half earnings and a deferral in its dividend payment.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index declined 2.51%.
Markets in China, Japan and Thailand are closed on Monday for holidays.
The moves regionally came as tensions rise between Washington and Beijing. U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that he believed that a “mistake” in China was the cause of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, though he did not present any evidence for the claim. The nation’s top spy agency said Thursday that it had determined that the virus was not man made but was still investigating whether it was caused by “an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
The Associated Press additionally reported that U.S. intelligence documents accused China of concealing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak to hoard medical supplies.
“Even as growth-stifling containment measures are set to be phased out in May, the global downturn looks to deepen in Q2,” economists at Mizuho Bank wrote in a note. “If prospects of hard-to-reverse job losses overwhelm, alongside Trump’s anti-China threats, ‘Mayday’ type of fear dynamics may rule the day.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19619.35-574.34-2.84
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI23650.25-993.34-4.03
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005319.8073.901.41
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2860.0837.641.33
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1895.37-52.19-2.68
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007484.43-128.27-1.68
Developments on the global coronavirus outbreak continued to be monitored by investors, with more than 3.5 million infected worldwide while at least 247,300 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Trump said on Sunday that he was confident that there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.
“We are very confident that we are going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by the end of the year,” Trump said. Still, public health officials have said a coronavirus vaccine could take a year to 18 months.
“We’ve been saying for a week or two that we feel that maybe equity markets in the short-term might be getting a bit ahead of themselves,” Steve Brice, chief investment strategist at Standard Chartered Private Bank, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday. “The road to recovery is unlikely to be smooth, both in terms of the speed of opening up and whether we see any re-acceleration of Covid-19 cases”

Oil prices decline

Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 1.17% to $26.13 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dropped 5.56% to $18.68 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.32 after declining from levels above 100 last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.80 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107 last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6397 after declining from levels above $0.648 last week.
— CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 1, May 2020

Australia shares drop 5% while Japan's Nikkei falls nearly 3%; major markets in Asia closed for holidays

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Japan and Australia slipped on Friday, with most major markets in Asia closed for holidays.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 5.01% to close at 5,245.90, with shares of major miner BHP plunging 7.76%. Major banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group also saw their shares fall more than 4.5% each.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 2.84% to close at 19,619.35, with shares of Tokyo Electron dropping 5.51%. The Topix index also shed 2.24% to end its trading day at 1,431.26.
Major markets across the region — including China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India and Singapore — were closed on Friday for holidays.
On the economic data front, South Korean exports fell in April at their sharpest pace since the global financial crisis, Reuters reported Friday citing data from the trade ministry. Exports fell 24.3% year-on-year in April, the worst contraction since May 2009. Still, it was slightly smaller than expectations of a 25.4% drop in a Reuters survey.
The data release from South Korea, a major Asian economy and exporting powerhouse, could provide clues on the scale of the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic. Globally, more than 3.2 million people have been infected while at least 233,000 lives have been lost, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19619.35-574.34-2.84
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24643.5967.630.28
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005245.90-276.50-5.01
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2860.0837.641.33
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1947.5613.470.70
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007640.56-125.85-1.62
Overnight stateside, the major averages fell on the day but capped off their best monthly performances in years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 288.14 points lower at 24,345.72 while the S&P 500 slid 0.9% to end its trading day at 2,912.43. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3% to close at 8,889.55.
Still, Thursday’s moves did little to dent the monthly gains for the three indexes.
For April, the S&P 500 posted its third-largest monthly gain since World War II, surging 12.7% in April. It was also its biggest one-month gain since 1987. The Dow had its fourth-largest post-war monthly rally with an 11.1% gain. The Dow also had its best month in 33 years. The Nasdaq surged 15.5% in April, its biggest monthly gain since June 2000.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, as international benchmark Brent crude futures gained 1.6% to $26.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose, increasing 2.65% to $19.34 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.048 following a decline from levels above 100 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.08 per dollar after weakening sharply yesterday from levels around 106.5. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6459 after seeing highs around $0.657 yesterday.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Thursday 30, April 2020

Japan stocks jump 2% on hopes of coronavirus treatment; China's manufacturing data misses expectations

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia rose on Thursday following positive developments overnight on a potential new treatment for Covid-19.
Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 1.33% to about 2,860.08 while the Shenzhen composite added 1.885% to around 1,763.36.
Stocks in Japan saw robust gains as they returned to trade following a Wednesday holiday. The Nikkei 225 jumped 2.14% to close at 20,193.69 as shares of robot maker Fanuc soared 5.63%. The Topix index also rose 1.03% to end its trading day at 1,464.03.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia also rose 2.39% to close at 5,522.40.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 1.4%.
In corporate earnings, Singapore’s DBS Group posted a 29% plunge year-over-year in its first quarter net profit. The bank’s shares jumped more than 4% in afternoon trade on Thursday.
Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed on Thursday for a holiday.
Investors watched for market reaction to developments overnight regarding the use of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir as a potential new treatment for Covid-19 patients.
Gilead Sciences said Wednesday preliminary results of a coronavirus drug trial showed at least 50% of patients treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks.
Later Wednesday, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said NIAID’s remdesivir drug trial, which enrolled about 800 patients, showed “quite good news” and that the drug would set a new standard of care for Covid-19 patients.
Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more then 3.1 million and taken at least 226,771 lives, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

China manufacturing data release

On the economic data front, China said manufacturing activity in the country expanded slightly in April. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for April came in at 50.8, as compared to 52.0 in March. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that mark indicate contraction. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected the official manufacturing PMI for April to come in at 51.0.
A subsequent private survey also released on Thursday, on the other hand, showed manufacturing activity in April contracting instead. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI for April came in at 49.4, below expectations of a reading of 50.3 by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Economic data from China have been watched by investors for further clues as to whether the country’s economy is bouncing back after a dismal first quarter GDP print as the country battled the coronavirus outbreak.

Central bank watch

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged Wednesday to keep rates near zero for as long as needed and provide additional help to the economy.
Looking ahead, the European Central Bank (ECB) is also set to announce its interest rate decision at 7:45 p.m. HK/SIN on Thursday.
“I don’t think the market is actually expecting much to come out of the ECB tonight,” Craig Chan, head of global foreign exchange strategy at Nomura, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday.
“We are expecting 20 basis points cut in the deposit rate,” Chan said. “I would also say there is some risk that we could see asset purchases step up as well.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20193.69422.502.14
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24643.5967.630.28
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005522.40129.002.39
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2860.0837.641.33
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1947.5613.470.70
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007780.9068.900.89

Oil prices surge

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures gaining 6.08% to $23.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 11.55% to $16.80 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.469 after seeing levels above 100 earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.60 per dollar, stronger than levels above 107 seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6554 following its rise from levels below $0.648 seen earlier this week.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Wednesday 29, April 2020

Asia Pacific stocks mostly higher ahead of Fed rate decision; Samsung Electronics earnings miss expectations

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific mostly edged higher on Wednesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.44% to about 2,822.44 while the Shenzhen composite dipped 0.105% to around 1,730.74. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.1%, as of its final hour of trading.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7% to close at 1,947.56. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.51% to end its trading day at 5,393.40 as shares of major banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac advanced at least 4% each.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.99%.
On the corporate earnings front, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics posted a first quarter net profit of 4.9 trillion Korean won ($4.01 billion), Reuters reported Wednesday. Still, that was below Refinitiv estimates of 5.1 trillion won.
The industry heavyweight flagged that overall earnings are likely to decline in the second quarter as compared to the previous period, while Covid-19 is expected to significantly impact demand for several of its core products, according to Reuters. Shares of Samsung Electronics dipped 0.2% on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed shares of Standard Chartered jumped more than 6%, as of their final hour of trading on Wednesday. The firm posted a 12% year-on-year decline in profit before taxation for the first quarter. In its earnings release, Standard Chartered said the firm is “well prepared for a protracted period of severe dislocation.”
Markets in Japan were closed on Wednesday for a holiday.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19771.19-12.03-0.06
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24589.8613.900.06
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005393.4080.301.51
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2822.4412.420.44
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1947.5613.470.70
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007688.7741.360.54
In central bank news, the Fed is expected to announce its interest rate decision at 2:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Thursday. Investors will look for guidance on the U.S. central bank’s future path of interest rates as the country looks toward gradually reopening its economy.
“We are not expecting any policy action from the Fed, which has already unleashed unwavering policy easing at emergency meetings; from slashing rates to essentially zero; “unlimited QE”; to various extended liquidity/lending facilities,” analysts at Mizuho Bank wrote in a note.
“It is more likely that the Fed will merely, assess the policy actions that have been announced, and possibly streamline/clarify the plethora of facilities set up,” the analysts said. “That said, there will be nothing in the rhetoric to suggest that the Fed is in anything but dovish mode, and maintaining an aggressive easing stance.”

Oil prices surge

Oil prices jumped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 5.03% higher at $21.49 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 15.8% to $14.29 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.69 after an earlier high of 99.885.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.53 per dollar after strengthening sharply from levels above 107.2 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6533 following a rise from levels below $0.648 yesterday.

______________________________________________________

On Tuesday 28, April 2020

Asia stocks little changed as oil prices continue to fall; HSBC earnings widely miss expectations

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia were little changed on Tuesday as oil prices continued to slip following an overnight plunge on fears that global storage capacity will soon be full as a result of weak demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.87%, as of its final hour of trading.
Mainland Chinese stocks edged lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.19% to about 2,810.02 and the Shenzhen composite dipping 0.316% to around 1,732.56.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed fractionally lower at 19,771.19 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.13% higher at 1,449.15. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.59% higher at 1,934.09.
Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.16% to close at 5,313.10.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.39% higher.
On the earnings front, HSBC on Tuesday posted a 48% year-over-year plunge in pre-tax profit for the first quarter of 2020, That was worse than expectations of analysts at Morgan Stanley, who had projected profit before tax to plunge 35.7% year-over-year. Hong Kong-listed shares of Europe’s largest bank were last flat in Tuesday afternoon trade.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. West Texas Intermediate for June delivery dropped 16.59% to $10.66 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures also declined 5% to $18.99 per barrel.
The moves in the oil markets came after WTI for June delivery plunged more than 24% overnight, while Brent also saw sharp losses of more than 6%. Concerns over lackluster demand were exacerbated on Monday after the United States Oil Fund  popular with retail investors  said it would sell all of its contracts for June delivery beginning Monday, in favor of longer-term contracts.
Meanwhile, developments on the coronavirus front were also monitored. Globally, more than 3 million people have been infected while at least 208,131 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
Markets have gotten a boost in recent days amid hope of an easing in lockdown restrictions that have left economies effectively frozen.
Still, JPMorgan Asset Management’s Kerry Craig told CNBC that he was “very cautious” toward equity markets at present as questions remain over how successful governments will be in restarting the economy and how it could impact the corporate outlook and earnings.
“We’re not gonna see, suddenly, a sudden stop in the economy become a sudden start,” Craig, a global market strategist at the firm, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday. “It’s gonna be very protracted, it’s gonna come through very slowly and I don’t think that’s very much appreciated by what we’re seeing in the markets.”
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19771.19-12.03-0.06
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24575.96295.821.22
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005313.10-8.30-0.16
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2810.02-5.47-0.19
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1934.0911.320.59
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007641.0934.960.46
Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 358.51 points higher at 24,133.78 — its first close above 24,000 since April 17. The S&P 500 added 1.5% to close at 2,878.48 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to end its trading day at 8,730.16
Monday’s gains put the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest one-month gain since 1987 with an 11.4% surge in April. The Dow is up 10.1% month to date; that would be its best monthly performance since 2002. A partial reopening of the economy in the U.S. — in Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and others — is boosting investor sentiment.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.181 after dipping below the 100 mark earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.16 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.4 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6459 after rising from levels below $0.642 yesterday.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Pippa Stevens contributed to this report.

______________________________________________________

On Monday 27, April 2020

Japanese stocks jump as Bank of Japan enhances monetary policy easing; oil prices drop

Eustance Huang

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose on Monday, as the Bank of Japan announced its decision to enhance monetary policy easing.
Japanese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets,  the Nikkei 225 rose 2.71% to close at 19,783.22 as shares of robot maker Fanuc soared 11.95% following the release of the firm’s financial results for the year ended March 2020. The Topix index also advanced 1.83% to finish its trading day at 1,447.25.
The Japanese central bank announced a series of measures on Monday to combat the hit on Japan’s economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These included the increase in purchases of commercial paper and corporate bonds and further active buying of Japanese government bonds and treasury discount bills.
The BoJ also kept the short-term policy interest rate target at -0.1% as well as a pledge to keep 10-year Japanese government bond yields around 0%.
Stephen Davies, CEO of Javelin Wealth Management, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Monday that the Japanese central bank’s moves were “very much parroting the line established” by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which itself has taken significant steps in an attempt to quell market fears.
“The do-what-it-takes mantra is very firmly in place across the globe,” Davies said. “That’s definitely helped stabilize the fixed income markets over the course of the last month which is pretty positive, it  remains to be seen what positive effects that will have on the broader economy.”
Mainland Chinese stocks were up on the day, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.25% to about 2,815.49 while the Shenzhen composite fractionally higher at approximately 1,738.05. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also jumped about 1.9%, as of its final hour of trading.
The moves on the mainland came on the back of an earlier data release which showed industrial profits in China plummeting 34.9%, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics. Economic data from China, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus, have been watched for signs of recovery as the country returned to production following an extended lockdown period earlier in the year.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi added 1.79% to close at 1,922.77. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also rose 1.5% to end its trading day at 5,321.40.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index advanced 1.81%.
TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE %CHANGE 
NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI19783.22521.222.71
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24298.44467.111.96
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005321.4078.801.50
SHANGHAIShanghaiSHANGHAI2815.496.970.25
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI1922.7733.761.79
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007612.01136.731.83

Oil prices plummet

Oil prices were also watched following recent volatility as concerns rose over weak demand as a result of the economic hit from the global coronavirus outbreak.
In the afternoon of Asian hours on Monday, as international benchmark Brent crude futures fell 5.27% to $20.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 13.93% to $14.58 per barrel.
“Unless there is a V-shaped economic recovery in the second half of this year, something we are not inclined to forecast, oil prices are likely to remain low for a considerable period,” Taimur Baig, chief economist at Singapore’s DBS Bank, wrote in a Monday note. “That will to be of limited comfort for Asian economies, as their outlook is dependent on global demand.”
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.872 after an earlier high of 100.319.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.15 per dollar after touching an earlier low of 107.62. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6459 after seeing levels below $0.63 last week.

______________________________________________________

On Friday 24, April, April 2020

Asia stocks decline as hopes of coronavirus treatment reportedly take a hit

Eustance Huang


Stocks in Asia declined on Friday after an overnight report that raised doubts over a potential coronavirus treatment.
Mainland Chinese stocks dropped by their close, with the Shanghai composite 1.06% lower at about 2,808.53 while the Shenzhen composite shed 1.48% to around 1,736.93. The Shenzhen component also fell 1.33% to 10,423.46. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was about 0.4% lower, as of its final hour of trading.
Over in South Korea, the Kospi fell 1.34% to close at 1,889.01 while the Kosdaq index finished its trading day 1.68% lower at 632.96.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan shed 0.86% to close at 19,262 while the Topix index declined 0.33% to end its trading day at 1,421.29.
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.49% higher at 5,242.60.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index dipped 0.63%.
The moves regionally came following an overnight report by the Financial Times — citing documents accidentally published by the World Health Organization — saying that Gilead Sciences’ drug remdesivir did not improve coronavirus patients’ condition. The documents cited by the FT referred to a Chinese clinical trial.
Gilead noted that study was “terminated early due to low enrollment,” leaving it “underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions. As such, the study results are inconclusive.”
That development comes as the coronavirus continues to spread globally, with more than 2.7 million people infected worldwide and at least 190,303 lives lost, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
“COVID-19 continues to (rightly) be the front of mind for investors,” Hannah Anderson, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, wrote in a note. She warned that investors should not “conflate” medical and economic data, as progress in combating the virus is “not the same as returning the economy to the place it was last fall.”
“Investors need to understand that the risks associated lifting public health measures too early could further exacerbate market pain,” Anderson said. “On balance, investors should expect more volatility across all asset classes as we try to appropriately price in something we have never experienced before.”
Hugh Young, managing director for the Asia Pacific region at Aberdeen Standard Investments, warned that markets “have not accurately priced in the risks.”
“Markets have obviously recovered substantially from the lows and then I suspect it will just gently seep in ... or maybe not so gently seep in that the economic consequences are actually huge of what’s going on,” Young told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday.
Meanwhile, oil prices continued their comeback from a recent slump. In the afternoon of Asian trading hours, international benchmark Brent crude futures gained 2.39% to $21.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also jumped 2% to $16.83 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.754 after an earlier high of 100.795.
The Japanese yen traded at 107.70 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 107.53. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6349 after touching an earlier high of $0.6381.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.