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Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed as region kicks off 2023

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

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JANUARY 01: Sun rises over the Oriental Pearl Tower on New Year's Day on January 1, 2023 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded mixed to commence the first trading week for the year.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.31% to 6,946.2 on its first trading session of 2023. South Korea's Kospi also fell 0.31 to 2,218.68 – the Kosdaq gained 0.51% to 674.95in Asia's afternoon session.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index traded 1.71% higher in its final hour of trade, leading gains in the region while the Shanghai Composite in mainland rose 0.88% to 3,116.51 and the Shenzhen Component gained 0.92% to 11,117.13.


The Caixin purchasing managers' index showed further declines in factory activity on surging Covid infections. The survey also showed business confidence around the 12-month outlook for output improved to the highest since February.

The Bank of Japan is reportedly considering raising its inflation forecasts in January to inch closer to the central bank's target of 2% in fiscal 2023 and 2024, Nikkei reported over the weekend.

In the U.S., major indexes closed the 2022 year with their worst losses since 2008, each snapping a three-year win streak. The S&P 500 lost 19.4% for the year, the Nasdaq lost 33.1% and the Dow closed 8.8%.

Tesla's head of China effectively becomes Musk's deputy: Reports

Tesla has tapped its China chief, Tom Zhu, to oversee the company's U.S. assembly plants and its North America sales operations, Reuters reported, citing an internal company post of reporting lines.

The news agency said Tesla's organizational chart was posted internally and showed that reporting lines for Zhu keep vehicle design and development separate but effectively make him a deputy to CEO Elon Musk, focusing on managing sales and output globally.

Reuters added that directors of the Texas Gigafactory, the senior director of its Fremont factory and vice presidents leading Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be reporting to Zhu – as well as Troy Jones, the vice president of North America sales.

Electrek earlier reported Zhu will take over responsibilities for sales, service, and deliveries in North America.

– Jihye Lee

India's cement stocks to perform well on government infrastructure spending, says IIFL Securities

India's domestic cement stocks are set to rise on increased government spending on infrastructure, said Sanjiv Bhasin, director at investment management firm IIFL Securities.

"The government spending on both commercial and real estate, and [developments on] the infrastructure, is going to see cement companies do well," Bhasin said on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday.

He said his firm is positive on companies such as Larsen & Toubro, Ultratech India, and Kotak Mahindra Bank, adding that cement prices in India is expected to rise as the country enters a period of high levels in construction activity.

India's cement stocks 'should do very well,' says investment management firm
VIDEO3:0103:01
India's cement stocks 'should do very well,' says investment management firm

— Charmaine Jacob

Australian miners, metal prices fall as China Covid cases rise

Shares of mining companies listed in Australia fell in Tuesday's afternoon trade as prices of metals fell in Shanghai as Covid infections soared in mainland China.

The February copper contract trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.7% to 65,670 yuan per ton while aluminum fell 2.7% to 18,175 yuan per ton.

Sandfire Resources inched 0.18% lower while Oz Minerals traded 0.25% higher – Rio Tinto fell more than 1% while Yancoal Australia shed more than 4.6% and Whitehaven fell 5.89%. Fortescue Metals lost 0.73% and South32 traded 0.5% lower.

— Jihye Lee

Consumer growth in Asia remains a 'massive challenge' for region, says Singapore Exchange

Inflation in Asia could peak lower and earlier than in U.S. and Europe, says strategist
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Inflation in Asia could peak lower and earlier than U.S. and Europe: Strategist

Consumer growth in Asia remains a "massive challenge" for the region, as its economic growth is significantly dependent on trade, Geoff Howie, markets strategist at the Singapore Exchange said.

Howie pointed to South Korea and Taiwan's declines in exports since May 2021 as well as Singapore's non-oil exports contracting by 14.6% in November.

There have been "much hinges on trade and tech, and we are expecting moderation in global trade," he said on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday. "Consumer growth is an area that we have to really watch," Howie said.

– Charmaine Jacob

'Rough front half, better second half for tech stocks': Jefferies shares 2023 outlook

Tech stocks will face a difficult environment in the first half of 2023, analyst says
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Tech stocks will face a difficult environment in the first half of 2023: Analyst

The first half of 2023 is going to be a "tough setup" for tech stocks, Brent Thill, managing director and senior analyst of investment firm Jefferies, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" Tuesday.

"You still have the economic overhang that is going to be impacting earnings as we go into the beginning of this year. Companies have to lower numbers and expectations are still coming down," said Thill.

He projected things to turn around in the second half of 2023, as it "takes time" for effects from macro economic conditions such as rising interest rates to unravel and "investors start to look at 2024 numbers being reset."

"I think the worst-case scenario is that 2023 could be a total wash," said Thill, adding that Jefferies is expecting a recession to hit the third quarter, which is later than most expect.

- Sheila Chiang

Oil prices to fall to $70-levels by end of 2023, says analyst

The price of Brent oil will fall to the lower end of $70 a barrel by year's end, according to Citi's global head of commodities research, Ed Morse, adding volatility surrounding the oil markets will remain.

"We're expecting volatility to be about what it was last year," said Morse. "We're looking at Brent prices going down by the end of the year to the low 70s," he estimated.

A number of oil producing countries are facing extreme difficulties, Morse said. He also expects demand for oil to be kept low due to a prolonged recession in China.

Developments on Russia's war on Ukraine will also add onto volatility in prices, Morse added.

Brent crude dipped 0.43% to $85.57 a barrel. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude traded down 0.39% to $79.95. 

—Lee Ying Shan

Japanese yen at strongest levels in seven months

The Japanese yen hovered around its strongest levels since early June, Refinitiv data showed.

The currency last traded at 129.7 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening past the key technical level of 130.4 that it last saw in August. Late last year, the yen depreciated significantly and hit its weakest levels in 32 years.

The currency weakened past 151 against the greenback in mid-October as the Bank of Japan maintained its ultra-dovish monetary policy and yield curve control strategy. But the yen has since strengthened after the central bank widened its YCC band last month.

– Jihye Lee

China's Caixin PMI shows further factory activity decline

China's factory activity slid further into contraction territory in December, a private sector survey showed.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell further to 49 in December after recording 49.4 in November – remaining below the 50-point mark that separates growth and contraction.

The survey saw improved optimism among businesses, the release said, adding that firms expressed confidence in China's economic recovery following the relaxation of most of its stringent Covid measures.

Separately, China's National Bureau of Statistics said the official manufacturing PMI fell to 47 for the month, marking the biggest drop since the start of the Covid outbreak in January 2020.

– Jihye Lee

Singapore economy grew 3.8% in 2022

Singapore's economy saw full-year growth of 3.8% for 2022, according to data released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Tuesday.

The economy grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago, the slowest pace since mid-2021 but beating expectations of 2.1% from a Reuters poll.

The latest figures reflected continued recovery in the service sector that followed lifting of domestic and border restrictions since April, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the accommodation sector expanded for the first time since mid-2021.

— Jihye Lee

Bank of Japan is reportedly considering hiking its inflation forecasts in January, according to Nikkei

Japan's central bank is reportedly considering boosting its inflation forecasts in January to reflect price growth that's closer to its 2% target in the 2024 fiscal year, according to a Dec. 30 report from Nikkei, citing sources familiar.

The move could be laying the groundwork for a shift toward tighter fiscal policy, according to the report.

The report arrives more than a week after the Bank of Japan changed its bond yield controls, allowing long-term interest rates to rise more. The rate on the 10-year bond will be allowed to fluctuate by half a percentage point above and below the nation's target of 0% – up from a quarter-percentage point range.

Retail sales have also ticked higher in Japan, rising for a ninth consecutive month in November.

Darla Mercado

Week ahead: PMIs in Asia-Pacific, trade data, inflation readings

Key economic events in the Asia-Pacific next week will be dominated by Purchasing Managers' Index readings in the region.

China's National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release the official manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI prints on Saturday. Reuters expects China's factory activity to show a contraction with a reading of 48.

South Korea is also slated to report its December trade data over the weekend, in which economists polled by Reuters predict will show a drop of 10.1% compared with a year ago.

Singapore is scheduled to release manufacturing PMI readings next week, while S&P Global is scheduled to release its PMI readings for South Korea, Indonesia and India on Monday.

Inflation prints for the Philippines and Indonesia will also be closely watched, with the releases scheduled for Tuesday and Monday, respectively.

Japan's PMI reading and China's private survey for services PMI will be released on Wednesday. Singapore will release November's retail sales on Thursday as well as South Korea's unemployment rate for December.

– Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Wall Street veteran names the stocks that could go to $0 — and his favorites in tech

2022 has marked the end of an era of cheap money, and that's bad news for companies with a "growth at all costs" approach, said David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs.

In the year ahead, investors will need to exercise due diligence in distinguishing between good and bad firms, he told CNBC Pro.

That's because the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes in 2022 have "ended the era of super easy money," and exposed many companies with bad business models. He calls those companies "zombie stocks" with heavy cash burn.

He highlights a list of such names to avoid and what to buy instead.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Final market stats for 2022

Friday was the final trading day of the 2022, but also for the quarter, month and year. Here's how the major market averages fared over those time frames.

The Dow finished:

  • down 8.78% for the year
  • up 15.39% for the quarter
  • down 4.17% for the month
  • down 0.17% for the week

The S&P 500 finished:

  • down 19.44% for the year
  • up 7.08% for the quarter
  • down 5.90% for the month
  • down 0.14% for the week

The Nasdaq Composite finished:

  • down 33.10% for the year
  • down 1.03% for the quarter
  • down 8.73% for the month
  • down 0.30% for the week

The Russell 2000 small caps finished:

  • down 21.56% for the year
  • up 5.8% for the quarter
  • down 6.64% for the month
  • up 0.02% for the week

— Jesse Pound, Christopher Hayes

CNBC Pro: 2023 looks good for the market — especially for one 'extremely attractive' asset class: Fund manager

Markets have bottomed and things are looking up for stocks and bonds, which could rally more than 10% in 2023, according to one portfolio manager.

Jay Hatfield, CEO and portfolio manager at Infrastructure Capital Advisors, also highlighted the "conviction investment themes" he expects will be very attractive in 2023.

That includes one asset he said could beat its peers.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan