Hong Kong stocks lead losses as China Covid cases rise; Asia markets mixed

This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Electronic screens display gongs at the Exchange Square Complex, which houses the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
Paul Yeung | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares in the Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday as investors weigh risks and China saw a rise in Covid cases. The government reiterated its Covid-zero policy in a late afternoon press conference.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.16% in the final hour of trade, with the Hang Seng Tech index down 3.15% as Covid cases in China continue to grow. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.13% to 3,088.94, while the Shenzhen Component fell 1.18% to 11,002.93.

The Kospi in South Korea slipped 0.59% to 2,405.27 and Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.61% to close at 28,115.74 while the Topix added 1.12% to 1,994.75. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.59% to 7,181.30.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.33%.

On Monday, Chinese banks were reportedly encouraged to increase credit to support the economy, especially industries that have been hit harder by Covid. Separately, Chinese local media cited the nation's securities regulator as saying the country needs to improve balance sheets of "good quality" property developers, according to Reuters.

Baidu and Kuaishou are set to report earnings later Tuesday. Overnight in the U.S., stocks closed lower after a volatile session. shares drop after company cuts senior management pay

Hong Kong-listed shares of traded more than 5% lower in the afternoon after the company confirmed pay cuts of its senior management team.

The Chinese e-commerce giant confirmed that it will slash the cash salaries of its senior management team by up to 20%, effective January next year.

The company added that it would pay social insurance fees for Deppon logistics employees and set up a housing fund. 

"The employee benefits improvement plan is currently being promoted, with a focus on front-line staff," the company told CNBC.

– Iris Wang

Investing in Chinese firms listed in the U.S. is like 'playing fantasy football,' says Hayman Capital

Investors have to be 'very careful' with China's property market, asset management firm says
Investors have to be careful with China's property sector: Asset management firm

Investing in U.S.-listed Chinese companies is equivalent to playing "fantasy football" as U.S. regulators continue their audits into the firms, according to an asset management firm.

Kyle Bass, founder and CIO of Hayman Capital Management, said recent reports of the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board gaining "good access" to requested information have yet to be confirmed, and reiterated the financial risks that investors of U.S.-listed Chinese companies face.

"They own a stock that has a claim to a Cayman Islands subsidiary that has no voting rights, and no access to assets in the event of a bankruptcy," he told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia," when asked if Chinese stocks in the U.S. were "investable."

Chinese companies listed overseas, such as Alibaba and, use a variable interest entity structure, in which an offshore entity is set up, bypassing Chinese restrictions on foreign investment and preventing investors in the U.S. stock from having majority voting rights.

The U.S.-listed firm is commonly a holding company formed outside both the U.S. and China, and may not own stock in the China-based company.

"Investors really are just playing fantasy football with the Chinese companies because they actually don't own anything," he said.

— Jihye Lee

Shares of Indonesia's GoTo fall 6% after company reports nine-month losses

Indonesia's GoTo Group posted a higher nine-month accumulated loss compared to the same period a year ago, even though quarterly losses shrank with cost cuts.

Losses between January and September were 20.32 trillion rupiah ($1.29 billion), nearly double the 11.58 trillion rupiah loss reported a year ago.

Its share price fell 6% Tuesday morning in Jakarta, and marks a 48% decrease in share price since its listing in April this year.

The company announced last Friday to cut jobs as part of wider cost-cutting plans, which it expects to be reflected later in 2023, it said.

– Sheila Chiang

Malaysian kingmaker party GPS will support Perikatan Nasional, not Pakatan Harapan

One of the Malaysian election's kingmakers Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), a Sarawak-based national political alliance in east Malaysia, said it was supporting the Perikatan Nasional coalition to form government and would not work with Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Harapan.

Malaysia's king has asked leading coalitions to submit their prime minister candidates by 2 p.m. local time, after Saturday's election was inconclusive.

"We have always been said [sic] that we will not be able to work with DAP here and also Pakatan," GPS Secretary-General Alexander Nanta Linggi told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia." DAP is a progressive component party of Pakatan.

"In the last few days during the election, they were attacking us so much. So it's rather hard ... to form government, to be very objective in that sense."

In return for GPS's support, Linggi said it would like the government to give the party members positions in ministries that matter to them, such as rural development and commodities.

— Su-Lin Tan

CNBC Pro: Amazon's down 40% this year — is it time to buy? Market pros give their take

Once a Wall Street darling, Amazon has lost some of its luster this year. The e-commerce giant's stock has fallen more than 40%, well underperforming the S&P 500, which has declined about 15% in the same period.

Is it time for investors to pile back in? Two market pros faced off on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Thursday to make a case for and against buying the stock.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Baidu, Kuaishou shares fall ahead of earnings report

Baidu is expected to see a slight drop in revenue in the third quarter of 2022, a mean of estimates from a Refinitiv poll showed.

The company is expected to see a 0.05% drop in revenue to 31.904 billion yuan ($4.46 billion) for the July to September quarter, after it reported 31.92 billion yuan for the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, Tiktok rival Kuaishou is expected to see a 10.2% growth in revenue for the third quarter to 22.58 billion yuan, a separate Refinitiv poll indicated — which would be the slowest pace of yearly growth since the company started reporting earnings.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Kuaishou fell 4.1% ahead of earnings, while Baidu shares were down 0.44% in the morning session.

–Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley's Wilson says inflation is set to slide, but warns of a 'new era' ahead

Watch CNBC's full interview with Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson
Watch CNBC's full interview with Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson

Morgan Stanley's Chief U.S. Equity Strategist Mike Wilson said he expects a "pretty steep decline in inflation," and predicts when this could happen.

But he said there are two areas that are exceptions, where inflation could be "stickier."

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Oil prices flat after hitting lowest levels since January

Oil prices were little changed in Asia's morning after reaching its lowest levels since January on Monday.

U.S. crude was fractionally higher at $80.08 per barrel after touching $75.08 in Monday's session.

Brent crude gained slightly to $87.52 per barrel. It hit $82.31 in the previous session.

Oil futures briefly plunged on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported OPEC+ was considering increasing supply by 500,000 barrels per day. Saudi Arabia later disputed that report.

— Abigail Ng

Singapore authorities explain why FTX wasn't on its alert list

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said embattled cryptocurrency exchange FTX was not on its investor alert list because it was not "actively soliciting users in Singapore," in contrast to rival exchange Binance.

The MAS said there is a "clear distinction" between FTX and Binance in terms of targeting local users, according to a statement released Monday afternoon.

"Binance in fact went to the extent of offering listings in Singapore dollars and accepted Singapore-specific payment modes such as PayNow and PayLah," it said in the statement, adding that it had received numerous complaints about Binance between January and August last year.

The MAS went onto reiterate the risks that investors face when trading digital assets.

"The most important lesson from the FTX debacle is that dealing in any cryptocurrency, on any platform, is hazardous," it said, adding even Singapore-licensed crypto exchanges would be regulated solely to address risks on money laundering, and not to provide protection to investors.

"As MAS has repeatedly stated, there is no protection for customers who deal in cryptocurrencies. They can lose all their money," it said.

Jihye Lee

Stocks fall Monday to start short holiday week

Stocks slipped Monday in a volatile trading session to kick off the short holiday week.

The S&P 500 shed 0.39% to 3,949.94 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.09% to end the day at 11,024.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.41 points, or 0.13%, to 33,700.28, though losses on the index were mitigated by a jump in Disney shares, which surged more than 6%.

Disney jumped after the company announced that former CEO Bob Iger would replace Bob Chapek.

—Carmen Reinicke