Hong Kong movers: Technology, consumer, reopening-related stocks
Technology and consumers related to reopening led gains in Hong Kong during Wednesday’s morning trade.
EV makers also saw gains, with Xpeng gaining 8.73%, Li Auto jumping 7.32%, and Baidu rising 5.56%.
Reopening-related consumer names also rose, with Budweiser Brewing Company up 6.38%, Anta Sports gaining 5% and Li Ning up 4.64%.
China’s factory activity in February shows further growth
China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.6 in February, above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
That’s compared to January’s reading of 50.1 and above expectations of 50.5, according to economists surveyed by Reuters.
Non-manufacturing PMI rose to 56.3 – also above January’s reading of 54.4, the highest level since June 2022.
– Jihye Lee
Japan factory activity slows at the fastest pace in 2.5 years
Japan’s factory activity slowed at the fastest pace in two and a half years in February, a private survey by au Jibun Bank showed.
The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.7, down from 48.9 in January. This also marked the fourth straight month that Japan’s factory activity has stayed in contraction territory.
A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 signals contraction in growth.
On Tuesday, Japan’s industrial production fell 4.6% compared to a month ago in January, the biggest decline the economy has seen in eight months.
— Lim Hui Jie
Australia gross domestic product grows 2.7% in 2022
Australia’s economy grew 2.7% for the whole of 2022, in line with economists expectations, but lower than 2021’s figure of 5.9%.
On a quarterly basis, gross domestic product grew 0.5%, according to the country’s bureau of statistics data. Australia has now recorded five consecutive rises in quarterly GDP, but growth slowed for the last two quarters.
The Australian dollar strengthened 0.36% against the U.S. dollar, while the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.22% lower.
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— Zavier Ong
South Korea’s trade deficit narrowed in February
South Korea’s trade deficit narrowed to $5.3 billion in February after marking a deficit of $12.65 billion in January, preliminary data showed.
The latest reading is a smaller deficit than expectations to see a $6.06 billion deficit, according to economists surveyed by Reuters.
Exports declined by 7.5%, dropping less than expectations to see a decline of 8.7% – while imports grew 3.6%.
– Jihye Lee
Stock market this year may defy March’s usual history of positive gains
March is most often a positive month for the stock market, but this year it may bring more of the same turbulence that rattled investors in February.
Stocks are set to exit February with steep losses, with the S&P 500 down 2.3% for the month through Monday. The index is still up 3.7% for the year so far.
“February is the second worst month of the year, posting an average decline of 0.21%, which is the second worst after September,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “However, March on average posts a gain of 1.1%, rising 64% of the time.” March is the fifth-best month for the S&P 500, according to CFRA data going back to 1945.
— Patti Domm, Tanaya Macheel
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U.S. 10-year hits highest level since November
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note hit a high of 3.983% on Tuesday, its highest level since Nov. 10, when the note yielded as high as 4.117%. It was last higher by about 3 basis points at 3.955.
Treasury yields added to their sharp February gains as traders continued weighing the prospects of higher tighter monetary policy for longer than expected.
— Gina Francolla, Tanaya Macheel
UBS says Fed’s rate hikes are creating “downside risks” for markets
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate hikes have weighed on equity markets, according to UBS Financial Services.
“We judge that the economy is in late-cycle, with the Fed continuing to hike rates and growth likely to slow. Tighter policy creates downside risks for markets,” UBS senior U.S. economist Brian Rose wrote in a note to clients on Monday.
The firm anticipates the S&P 500 will finish the year close to current levels, with better upside potential in cyclical markets outside of the U.S., specifically in emerging markets and Germany.
“We prefer value over growth,” Rose wrote.
According to Rose, financial conditions have not tightened in line with the Fed’s rate hikes. The Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on February 1, and suggested there will be further rate hikes in the months ahead.
— Pia Singh