Asia markets rise after Wall Street soars on soft inflation data; Japan GDP shrinks

Soegeefx AppsAsia MarketAsia markets rise after Wall Street soars on soft inflation data; Japan GDP shrinks

Shreyashi Sanyal

Asia-Pacific markets rose Thursday after Wall Street benchmarks closed at record highs overnight on soft inflation data, while investors assessed Japan GDP data.

U.S. consumer price index rose 0.3% in April, below the 0.4% rise predicted by the Dow Jones. U.S. CPI climbed 3.4% year over year, in line with market estimates.

Japan’s first-quarter GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 2%, more than the 1.5% expected in a Reuters poll. The latest data could likely jeopardize the Bank of Japan’s plans to raise interest rates.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.39% to end at 38,920.26, while the broader Topix closed 0.24% higher at 2,737.54.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reopened after a holiday to rise 0.18%. Mainland China’s CSI 300 index gained 0.71%.

South Korea’s markets also resumed trading after a holiday, with the Kospi rising 0.75% and the smaller-cap Kosdaq adding 0.8%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1.65% to close at 7,881.30.

.N225 Nikkei 225 Index *NIKKEI 38920.26 534.53 1.39
.HSI Hang Seng Index *HSI 19375.62 301.91 1.58
.AXJO S&P/ASX 200 *ASX 200 7881.3 127.6 1.65
.SSEC Shanghai *SHANGHAI 3119.14 -0.76 -0.02
.KS11 KOSPI Index *KOSPI 2754.17 23.83 0.87
.FTFCNBCA CNBC 100 ASIA IDX *CNBC 100 9804.57 144.62 1.5

Overnight, Wall Street’s main indexes closed at record highs on Wednesday after data showed CPI rose at a slower-than-expected pace in April.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 349.89 points, or 0.88%, while the S&P 500 gained 1.17%. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.40%.

— CNBC’s Lisa Kailai Han and Samantha Subin contributed to this report.

TSMC says no damage to Arizona plant after report of an explosion

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said there was no damage to its facilities at its Arizona factory construction site, according to Reuters, following a report of an explosion at the plant.

A worker at TSMC’s Arizona plant was taken to a hospital with serious injuries following an explosion, the Arizona Republic reported earlier, citing authorities.

The Arizona Republic reported that firefighters from multiple departments responded to a hazardous materials call on Wednesday afternoon.

The chipmaker said in a statement that none of its employees or onsite construction workers had reported any injuries, according to Reuters.

— Shreyashi Sanyal, Reuters

Tencent shares jump 4.5% after it posts fastest profit growth in 3 years

Tencent’s Hong Kong-listed shares rose 4.5% after the Chinese tech giant beat analysts’ estimates for revenue and profit in the first quarter.

The company reported slightly better sales in its core gaming business and improved profitability in its advertising and business services division late on Tuesday.

Revenue of 159.5 billion Chinese yuan ($22 billion) in the first quarter topped analysts’ expectations of 158.4 billion yuan. Profit attributable to shareholders came in at 41.9 billion yuan versus expectations of 36.64 billion yuan.

The company’s adjusted net profit grew 62% year on year, the fastest growth since the March quarter of 2021, according to LSEG data.

Markets in Hong Kong resumed trading Thursday after a holiday.  

— Shreyashi Sanyal, Arjun Kharpal

Chinese property shares rise after report that government plans to buy unsold homes

Chinese property stocks rose following a report that the country was considering to buy millions of unsold homes from distressed developers in a bid to prop up its embattled property market.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index climbed over 6%.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Logan Group gained 11.59% and Longfor Group rose 14.63%. China Vanke climbed 14.78%. Private developer CIFI Holdings jumped 25%.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported that China’s State Council was gathering feedback from government entities and several provinces on local state-owned enterprises being tasked to buy unsold homes at steep discounts using loans offered by the state banks.

—Lee Ying Shan

Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rises 4.1% in April

Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 4.1% in April, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This was a 0.2 percentage point increase from a revised 3.9% reading in March.

“The employment-to-population ratio remained steady at 64.0% in April, indicating that recent employment growth is broadly keeping pace with population growth. This suggests that the labour market remains tight, though less tight than late 2022 and early 2023,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Singapore Airlines posts record profit for fiscal year 2023

Singapore Airlines posted a record operating profit of 2.73 billion Singapore dollars ($2.03 billion) for its fiscal year 2023 ending March 31, exceeding the previous record of SG$2.69 billion set last year.

Net profit also hit a fresh record of SG$2.67 billion, 24% higher than a year ago. Full-year revenue increased 7% year on year to SG$19.01 billion.

The carrier, named the world’s best airline in 2023 by Skytrax, said the performance was driven by higher passenger revenue, although cargo revenue declined.

In light of the results, SIA’s board announced a dividend of 38 cents per share, which brings the total dividend for the full fiscal year to 48 cents.

— Lim Hui Jie

Japan’s first-quarter GDP contracts by a more-than-expected 2%

Japan’s economy contracted at an annualized 2% in the first quarter of 2024, according to official data.

The GDP reading showed a deeper-than-expected contraction in the first quarter compared with a 1.5% contraction expected in a Reuters poll.

The latest data could also likely jeopardize the Bank of Japan’s plans to raise interest rates.

The BOJ held its benchmark policy rate unchanged at 0%-0.1% at its last monetary policy meeting on April 26, and said its monetary policy will depend on future economic conditions.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

CNBC Pro: Citi names one under-the-radar stock to buy on an AI opportunity, giving it 22% upside

Citi recently named one under-the-radar company to buy on a “data and AI opportunity.”

Citi noted that the company said its total addressable market has increased three times, thanks to its artificial intelligence opportunity.

— Weizhen Tan

CNBC Pro: India’s mid-cap stocks are in a ‘bubble’, says investor — and names the only stock he owns

India’s mid-cap stocks are in a “bubble” despite the country’s promising economic prospects, according to contrarian fund manager Jonathan Pines.

Pines, who runs Federated Hermes’ $3.1 billion Asia ex-Japan fund, believes there is a disconnect between the nation’s growth potential and the current stock market valuations.

The contrarian fund manager pointed to a mid-cap stock that’s risen by 240% despite sales and earnings declining.

However, he also named the only Indian stock he owns, saying “relative to everything else in India, that’s fantastic value”.

— Ganesh Rao

Best ‘Magnificent 7’ stock so far in Q2? It’s not Nvidia

The best-performing “Magnificent Seven” stock halfway through the second quarter is Google and YouTube owner Alphabet, up about 14.15%. Apple is higher by some 10.8% so far this quarter, while Nvidia is up 4.8% and Amazon by 2.4%. All four are outpacing the S&P 500, which has risen about 2.1%.

By contrast, Microsoft (+0.6%), Tesla (-0.7%) and Meta Platforms (-1%) are all trailing the S&P 500 in the second quarter.

The best-performing sector this quarter is the S&P 500 Utilities, up 9.9% and more than twice as much as second-ranked S&P 500 Communication Services, higher by 3.9%. S&P 500 Information Technology (+2.8%) is also outperforming the S&P 500.

All the other eight S&P 500 sectors are lagging the entire benchmark this quarter, led by Real Estate, down 2.1%; Consumer Discretionary, off 2.0%; and Health Care, lower by 1.5%.

— Scott Schnipper

Inflation still ‘irritatingly high,’ says Bankrate’s Hamrick

With the consumer price index showing inflation slightly eased in April, the “lack of a nasty surprise” was welcome, unlike March’s disappointingly high readings, said Mark Hamrick, senior economist at Bankrate.

That said, interest rates will still remain higher for longer, he noted.

“With the 3.4% year-over-year headline increase and 3.6% in the core (excluding food and energy), these remain irritatingly high,” Hamrick said. “The status of the battle against inflation requires that interest rates remain elevated in the near-term.”

— Michelle Fox

The clean energy stock rally this week was not a reaction to China tariffs, Raymond James says

Several clean energy stocks have rallied this week, in some cases with no company-specific news, leaving some investors to question what was behind the gains.

Pavel Molchanov, stock analyst at Raymond James, said Tuesday’s rally was not a reaction to the U.S. slapping tariffs on China. Some of the stocks that bounced have no link to tariff policy, Molchanov said.

The bounce yesterday “was simply a meme stock rally, with the most heavily shorted stocks gaining the most,” the analyst told clients in a research note Wednesday.

Residential solar company SunPower saw some of the strongest gains in the clean tech space, rallying 34% since the start of the week.

“Yesterday clean tech investors got a reminder — if any were needed — of just how emotionally these stocks can move on a day-to-day basis,” Molchanov said.

— Spencer Kimball

Source : cnbc

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