Asia-Pacific shares traded mixed on Wednesday, taking the lead from Wall Street's struggle for direction as China and Hong Kong markets remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed for a holiday.
New Zealand's fourth quarter inflation reading rose 1.4% quarter-on-quarter.
Overnight in the U.S., major indexes traded sideways with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on a third day of gains, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite took a dip.
Adani group shares fall as Hindenburg announces short position
Stocks of Adani group fell in the early hours of the trading session in Mumbai as short seller firm Hindenburg announced its short position in Adani Group.
Hindenburg also accused founder and Indian billionaire Gautam Adani of engaging in "brazen" stock manipulation and accounting fraud.
"After extensive research, we have taken a short position in Adani Group Companies through U.S.-traded bonds and non-Indian-traded derivative instruments," Hindenburg announced in a lengthy report published on its website.
– Jihye Lee
Singapore's inflation rate for December holds steady at 5.1%
Singapore's core inflation rate climbed 5.1% in December on an annualized basis, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The reading remains unchanged from November, and slightly beats Reuters' expectations of 5%. Smaller price increases for retail and other goods, as well as electricity and gas were offset by higher food and services inflation.
The core inflation rate does not include private transport and accommodation costs.
The consumer price index for all items in December eased from 6.7% to 6.5%.
"Prices of energy and food commodities had come off the peaks earlier in 2022 but remain elevated," the ministry said in a statement.
— Lee Ying Shan
Thailand's central bank to peak rates at 1.75%, JPMorgan says
JPMorgan sees Thailand's interest rate peaking within this quarter, according to chief southeast Asia strategist Rajiv Batra.
The Bank of Thailand will likely pause after delivering two consecutive rate hikes of 25 basis points – one later today and another later this quarter, Batra told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia."
Batra added there could be an additional hike of 25 basis points in the following quarter if China's reopening drives inflation higher.
"There could be an upside risk of another 25 in [the] second quarter ... If China's reopening leads to a significant increase in demand," he said.
He said Thailand will likely be the only nation to see an expansion in 2023.
"Thailand is the one country in ASEAN that could see positive growth revision this year, compared to other countries, which can see some amount of slowdown," Batra said.
JPMorgan expects foreign tourist arrivals to reach 26 million this year, which is about 65% of total arrivals in 2019. That's higher than the government's estimates of 25 million, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
— Charmaine Jacob
Australia inflation reaches highest since 1990
Inflation in Australia rose to a new 32-year high of 7.8% in the final quarter of the fiscal year of 2022, marking the fastest pace since March 1990.
The annualized figure of a rise in consumer prices was backed by higher prices in food, automotive fuel, and new residential construction, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Prices rose the most in costs related to domestic and international travel, which rose by 13.3% and 7.6%, respectively.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecasted the quarter's consumer price index to rise 7.5%, lower than the Reserve Bank of Australia's forecasts to see a print of 8%.
– Jihye Lee
CNBC Pro: Analysts like this indie game developer — with one bank saying it could soar over 200%
Shares of an indie video game developer are set to rise by more than 200%, according to Berenberg, which said the company provided a "very encouraging" 2023 outlook.
The investment bank isn't the only one that likes the developer — although it's the most bullish. The consensus price target of six analysts covering the stock indicates a potential upside of over 70%, according to FactSet data. All but one have a buy rating on the company's shares.
— Ganesh Rao
New Zealand's annualized inflation rate holds steady at 7.2%
New Zealand's year-on-year inflation rate held steady at 7.2% in December, slightly below a three decade high.
"Housing and household utilities was the largest contributor to the December 2022 annual inflation rate. This was due to rising prices for both constructing and renting housing," a report released by Statistics New Zealand stated.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, New Zealand's CPI reading for the fourth quarter rose 1.4%.
—Lee Ying Shan
Dow finishes 104 points higher
Stocks fought for direction Tuesday, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished higher.
The 30-stock index gained 104.40 points, or 0.31%, to close at 33,733.96. The S&P 500 dipped 0.07% to settle at 4,016.95, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.27% to end at 11,334.27.
— Samantha Subin
Correction: An earlier version of this blog misstated the Dow's move for the session.
Alphabet shares decline as DOJ sues Google
Alphabet declined nearly 2% Tuesday after the U.S. Justice Department filed its second antitrust lawsuit against Google in a little over two years.
The lawsuit, the first against the company filed under the Biden administration, calls for a breakup within Google's advertising business.
— Lauren Feiner, Samantha Subin
Business activity slowdown reminiscent of financial crisis, S&P says
Manufacturing and services activity slowed again in January as signs of a looming recession build.
Flash readings from S&P Global released Tuesday morning indicated both sectors in contraction. The services purchase managers index registered a 46.6 reading, up from 44.7 in December but still in contraction area. Likewise, the manufacturing reading was at 46.8, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous month.
Readings below 50 in the surveys indicate contraction as the indexes indicate the percentage level of businesses reporting expansion.
"The US economy has started 2023 on a disappointingly soft note, with business activity contracting sharply again in January," said Chris Williamson, S&P Global's chief business economist. "Although moderating compared to December, the rate of decline is among the steepest seen since the global financial crisis, reflecting falling activity across both manufacturing and services."
The reports also indicated that input prices rose in January after several months of softening trends.
— Jeff Cox