Asia-Pacific stocks climb as Hong Kong scraps Covid restrictions for incoming travelers

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

Pedestrians cross a road in front of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Asia-Pacific shares opened in positive territory as investors look ahead to a highly anticipated Federal Reserve meeting and U.S. CPI data reading.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.67% after Chief Executive John Lee announced further easing of Covid restrictions.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.31% at 7,203.3. The Nikkei 225 in Japan added 0.40% to close at 27,954.85, while the Topix inched up 0.43% to 1,965.68.

Korean benchmarks Kospi and Kosdaq dropped fractionally to close at 2,372.4 and 715.16 respectively. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.29%.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component shed 0.174%, while the  Shanghai Composite climbed 0.07%.

Hong Kong will release its industrial production data for the third quarter, and the Bank of Korea will also post minutes from its November meeting.

Australian business sentiment fell into negative territory for the first time since December last year.

Traders are bracing for the release of the U.S. consumer price index report for November and hoping for signs of easing inflation. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect a 0.3% increase on a monthly basis, which would mark a step down from October's 0.4%

Overnight in the U.S., the blue-chip Dow gained 528.58 points, or 1.58%, to 34,005.04, marking its first close over 34,000 since Dec. 2. The S&P 500 climbed 1.43% to close at 3,990.56, and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.26% to stand at 11,143.74.

India's central bank could hike rates by 25 basis points in February, economist says

The Reserve Bank of India could hike interest rates by 25 basis points at its next monetary policy meeting in February, Suvodeep Rakshit, senior economist at Kotak Institutional Equities told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Tuesday.

Following that, the RBI is expected to call for a "prolonged pause" in increasing rates, he added.

He said how long such a pause would be depends on how bad a global recession could get and the extent of its impact on India's economy.

The country's core inflation, he said, has remained "extremely sticky." Kotak forecasts inflation to be at an average of 6.6% by the end of 2023, before falling to 5.3% by the end of 2024.

— Charmaine Jacob

Macao's gaming stocks positive ahead of looser Covid policy taking effect

Macao's gaming stocks notched gains one day before its home isolation rules take effect, the latest step in the gambling hub's relaxation of strict Covid rules.

Shares of Wynn Macau added 1.53%, Sands China rose 3.54%, and SJM Holdings jumped 1.33%.

Macao's health bureau announced on Sunday that patients infected with Covid can isolate at home and self-monitor for five days starting Wednesday.

– Lee Ying Shan

Hong Kong further lifts Covid restrictions on international travelers, scraps Covid tracing app

Restrictions on Hong Kong travelers visiting bars or dining in at restaurants will be scrapped effective Wednesday, Chief Executive John Lee said.

Additionally, people in Hong Kong will no longer be required to use the Covid contact tracing app, LeaveHomeSafe. However, they may still need to show proof of vaccination at certain premises like eating establishments.

The amber code on international arrivals will also be removed, with Lee saying that the risk brought in by imported cases is "lower" than the risk of local infection. The red code denoting a Covid-positive patient and blue code for a negative result will still be in place.

"All people want to have less restrictions, as much as possible, while ensuring activities, [both] socially and economically, can proceed as much as possible," Lee added.

Hong Kong-listed travel stocks rose, with Cathay Pacific climbing 2.94%, China Eastern Airlines adding 2.01%, and Air China up 2.62%.

—Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: 'Global contenders': BofA names stocks with earnings momentum that look cheap

BofA has identified a bunch of stocks it says are "inexpensive" but have strong earnings momentum and price momentum.

"Our back-testing and subsequent performance show that stocks with above-average earnings momentum tended to outperform, stocks with above-average price momentum tended to outperform, but stocks with both the characteristics tended to perform even better," it wrote.

BofA said that these "global contenders" have outperformed the MSCI AC World Index by 6.9% year-to-date.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Oil prices rise more than 1% on back of demand boost and continued U.S. pipeline closure

Oil prices rose more than 1% on the back of a demand boost fueled by further China reopening optimism, as well as the extended closure of a key U.S. pipeline.

In Asia hours, Brent crude futures rose 1.19% to $78.90 a barrel, while U.S. marker West Texas Intermediate futures traded up 1.22% at $74.06 a barrel.

The Keystone pipeline in North America was suspended last Thursday after a crude oil spill in the U.S. state of Kansas. TC Energy has yet to confirm a timeline for restarting the pipeline.

– Lee Ying Shan

Australia business confidence slides into negative territory for first time in nearly a year

Australian business confidence dipped into negative territory for the first time since December 2021, highlighting businesses' concerns over the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates on the global economy.

National Australia Bank's monthly survey results shed 4 points to slide below 0 at -4 index points. The fall was led by declines in confidence in the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors.

"The forward-looking nature of the business confidence measure means it captures businesses' concerns about economic conditions before they have flowed through to a firm's actual conditions," the bank stated in the report.

—Lee Ying Shan

India's monthly inflation gauge eases to 11-month low in November

India's consumer price index for November slowed to 5.88% on an annualized basis, marking an 11-month low since December 2021.

The figure was down from 6.77% in October, and came in lower than Reuters' estimates of 6.4%.

The drop in India's CPI inflation rate is owed almost entirely to prices of perishables, said Dhiraj Nim, FX strategist at ANZ.

"Although [the] Reserve Bank of India's inflation forecasts will have to be adjusted downwards, further work needs to be done to bring inflation down sustainably," Nim said, adding that he expects a 25 basis point hike in a February meeting.

— Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Apple vs. Microsoft? One outperforming fund manager picks his favorite

Both Apple and Microsoft's share prices have tanked this year — and if investors are looking to buy the dip, there's a clear winner, according to one chief investment officer.

Richard-Mark Dodds told CNBC Pro the choice is clear: as one of them spends money on share buybacks, the other is making investments to further its business.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in Bahamas

Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by authorities in the Bahamas on Monday after United States prosecutors filed charges against the former crypto billionaire and FTX founder.

Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder said the U.S. had criminal charges against the former FTX CEO, who stepped down from his position after his crypto trading firm imploded, and is "likely to request his extradition."

Bankman-Fried was slated to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

— MacKenzie Sigalos, Rohan Goswami

Stocks close higher on Monday

Stocks ended the trading session higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to Tuesday's CPI data and Federal Reserve meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 528.58 points, or 1.58%, to end at 34,005.04. The S&P 500 gained 1.43% to close at 3,990.55. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.26% to 11,143.74.

— Tanaya Macheel

Consumers see inflation easing considerably in the next year, New York Fed survey shows

A New York Federal Reserve survey released Monday showed consumers are growing more optimistic about inflation. Respondents in the central bank's Survey of Consumer Expectations indicated they see inflation coming down both in the short term, one year out, as well as in the three- and five-year outlook.

Consumers see one-year inflation running at a 5.2% pace, down 0.7 percentage point from the October reading, according to the study. The inflation-rate projection for three years from now edged lower to 3%, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous month. And a relatively new data series reflecting the five-year outlook declined by the same level, to 2.3%.

— Jeff Cox, Tanaya Macheel