Asia-Pacific stocks trade mixed after losses on Wall Street


Indonesia and Indian currencies not seen as benefitting from China’s reopening: ANZ

Unlike other emerging market currencies both the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee have not gained much from China’s reopening, said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Bank.

These currencies have “lagged behind the moves … because both of these economies are not seen as huge beneficiaries of the China reopening,” Goh told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

He added that Chinese tourists do not largely contribute to India nor Indonesia’s overall growth.

On the flipside, Goh said that the Thai baht has so far been the strongest performing currency in Asia this year, and the Singapore dollar is one of his top recommendations for 2023.

— Charmaine Jacob

Asia-Pacific currencies mixed, Aussie dollar weakens

Currencies in the Asia-Pacific strengthened in the afternoon Thursday, a day after the Bank of Japan announced to keep its yield curve control unchanged.

The Japanese yen continued to strengthen further by 0.8% and last traded at 127.89 against the U.S. dollar.

The Korean won also strengthened nearly 0.4% as the country announced plans to lift a mandatory registration process for foreign stock investors, a move seen to further encourage overseas investment.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, weakened by more than 0.7% after its employment data came in weaker than expected, signaling the central bank’s rate hikes may slow due to a deteriorating jobs market.

China’s reopening is a boon for Asia’s growth outlook, Aberdeen says

Asia’s outlook is more promising this year, thanks largely in part to China’s sudden reopening, according to James Thom, senior investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“There’s a lot to be concerned about given all of the global sort of concerns and issues. But I feel that Asia incrementally is getting a little bit better. The outlook is improving, somewhat, in the early part of this year,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

“Clearly, the China reopening is an enormous swing factor in that very few had expected or anticipated and that’s going to be a real boon to growth and supportive for markets,” Thom added.

He also highlighted that the “weakening of the U.S. dollar generally, again, is helpful for Asian markets.”

—Sumathi Bala

Cryptocurrencies trade lower following Genesis’ plan to file for bankruptcy

Cryptocurrencies traded lower as crypto lender Genesis prepares to file for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported citing sources close to the matter.

Bitcoin was 2.51% lower at $20,742.39, according to data from Coin Metrics. Ether dropped 3.66% to stand at $1,522.93.

As recent as last week, Genesis, along with Gemini, were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly selling unregistered securities in connection with a high-yield product offered to depositors.

Earlier this month, Genesis laid off 30% of its workforce.

—Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Veteran investor says ‘tech is dead,’ names safer stocks to weather the ‘current storm’

After a rough 2022, some investors are flocking back to tech, but investment veteran Michael Landsberg is giving the sector a miss.

He favors safer sectors and shares the name of five companies he expects to ride out the “current storm.”

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Oil prices drop over a dollar as recession concerns loom

Oil prices dropped more than a dollar following a disappointing U.S. retail sales reading, which stoked recession fears.

Brent crude futures slumped 1.21%, or $1.03 to $83.95 a barrel, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures lost 1.38%, or $1.10 to $78.38 a barrel.

U.S. Retail sales in December fell 1.1%, slightly more than the 1% forecast.

– Lee Ying Shan

Australia’s unemployment rate holds, but jobs take a hit

Australia’s unemployment rate inched up 3.5% in December, slightly beating Reuters’ expectations of a 48-year low reading of 3.4%.

The figure compares to a 3.4% unemployment rate for November.

However, employment numbers for December plunged 14,600, widely missing expectations of a 22,500 growth as well as an increase of 64,000 for November.

—Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley’s Slimmon says stocks will ‘surprise’ Wall Street in 2023 — and names two he likes

Investment veteran Andrew Slimmon said he believes stocks are going to do “far better” than most expect this year.

“I’m not so sure about the second half of this year but I think the surprise is going to be that the stock market is going to do better earlier this year than what was almost universally predicted by many of the strategists on the sell side,” Slimmon, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.

He also named two of his favorite stocks.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Japan reports trade deficit for December

Japan recorded a trade deficit of 1.45 trillion yen ($11.27 billion) for the month of December, according to official data.

Japan’s imports in December climbed 20.6% compared to a year ago, slightly lower than Reuters’ expectations of 22.4%. Its exports rose 11.5% year-on-year, compared against an estimate of 10.1%.

The reading would cap off an entire year of trade deficits for Japan.

—Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: 2023 is set to be tough — but this ‘exceptional’ stock is rock solid, fund manager says

Many investors are bracing themselves for a tough year, with at least a mild recession looking likely.

Because of the “darkening” economic environment, fund manager Trent Masters of Alphinity Investment Management told CNBC Pro Talks that he picks stocks with one key quality: earnings resilience.

He names one “rock solid” stock that meets that criterion.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Stocks finish lower on Wednesday

All of the major averages ended the day lower on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 613.89 points, or 1.81%. The S&P 500 lost 1.56% and the Nasdaq Composite slid 1.24%.

— Tanaya Macheel

Fed’s Mester says ‘we need to keep going’ with rate hikes

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said Wednesday that interest rates have to keep moving higher even with recent inflation readings softening.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the policymaker said the Fed likely will have to take its benchmark interest rate above 5% in order to get inflation moving consistently down to the central bank’s 2% goal. She noted that markets and the economy absorbed the half-point December rate hike without a problem.

“I just think we need to keep going, and we’ll discuss at the [Jan. 31-Feb. 1] meeting how much to do at any one particular meeting,” Mester said. “But my projections and my view of the economy is that we need to do more, we need to get above 5% and then hold it there for some time until we get inflation expectations very well anchored at 2% … and inflation on that downward path.”

The fed funds rate is currently targeted in a range between 4.25%-4.5%.

—Jeff Cox

Holiday sales data misses expectations

Holiday sales numbers came in lighter than expected for 2022, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

The industry group said sales in November and December were up 5.3% year over year. The NRF had projected growth between 6% and 8%.

The data does not include spending at automobile dealerships, gasoline stations and restaurants. The sales numbers are not adjusted for inflation.

— Jesse Pound, Melissa Repko


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