Hong Kong falls 2%, leading losses in Asia as investors await Big Tech earnings

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

Top view of Seoul in the morning in autumn 2016.
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Hong Kong markets led losses in Asia on Tuesday, with the Hang Seng sliding 1.97% as Asian stocks largely fell ahead of earnings from Big Tech firms.

The Hang Seng Tech index saw a larger loss, tumbling 4% as technology stocks led losses on the HSI.

AlphabetMicrosoftAmazon and Meta are among the high-interest names scheduled to announce their results for the first quarter.

"Everyone's just waiting for tech earnings," said Chris Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo Securities. "This is a very, very busy week for earnings, so we're just treading water."

Mainland Chinese markets also all finished lower, with the Shenzhen Component 1.48% down to close at 11,149.01 and the Shanghai Composite ending 0.32% lower at 3,264.87.

South Korea's Kospi slid 1.37% to close at 2,489.02 and the Kosdaq ended 1.93% down at 838.71, after the country's central bank announced that its GDP grew 0.8% year-on-year in the first quarter.

In contrast, Japanese markets were all higher, with the Nikkei 225 up 0.09% to end the day at 28,620.07 and the Topix finishing 0.24% higher at 2,042.15.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed for a holiday.

Overnight in the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.29%, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.2% and the S&P 500 closed 0.09% higher.

— CNBC's Alex Harring and Hakyung Kim contributed to this report

Hyundai's first quarter net profit surges 92% year-on-year

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor reported a 92% year-on-year increase in net profit for the first quarter of this year, partly powered by higher sales of SUVs.

Net profit came in at 3.42 trillion won ($2.56 billion), compared to the 1.78 trillion won recorded in the same period the year before.

Revenue climbed 24.7% year-on-year, increasing from 30.3 trillion won to 37.78 trillion won.

Shares of Hyundai Motor closed 4.74% up on Tuesday.

CNBC Pro: Short-sellers raise their stakes against these 2 European banks by billions since the SVB crisis

Short-sellers significantly increased their bets against two European banks after the collapse of U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank.

SVB's failure, partly due to losses on its bond investments, sparked a worldwide search for weakness in banks' balance sheets. These developments fueled fears of contagion, plummeting shares across the U.S. and Europe.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Hyundai and SK On set up electric vehicle battery facility in U.S.

South Korean automaker Hyundai plans to set up a joint venture to make electric vehicle battery cells in the U.S.

Hyundai will partner SK On, a battery unit of SK Innovation, to establish an EV battery cell plant in the state of Georgia, close to the group's U.S. production facilities.  

The total investment amount is around $5 billion, with Hyundai and SK On each holding a 50% stake. 

The new plant is expected to start manufacturing battery cells in the second half of 2025 with an annual production capacity of 35 GWh, which is sufficient to support the production of 300,000 EVs.

These battery packs will be used in the production of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EVs.

— Lim Hui Jie

ByteDance pushing a new app in the U.S. as TikTok faces potential ban

Chinese tech giant ByteDance is pushing another app called Lemon8 as its flagship short-video app TikTok faces a potential ban in the U.S.

"It's certainly interesting timing. It seems like ByteDance is pushing Lemon8 as a potential alternative to TikTok," Lindsay Gorman, senior fellow for emerging tech at the German Marshall Fund, told CNBC.

Lemon8 uses similar recommendation algorithms as TikTok which "would make both of those apps tremendously popular because they feed you what you want to see and so on," said Glenn Gerstell, senior advisor at Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"It might give them a fallback in case something gets hurt on TikTok but I don't see it as generating a solution for ByteDance in this regard," said Gerstell.

Read the full story here.

— Sheila Chiang

Bank of Japan chief to keep interest rates low for now but does not rule out hikes

Japan's central bank governor Kazuo Ueda stressed the need to maintain the country's ultra-loose monetary policy "for now", but said the BOJ is ready to raise interest rates if wage growth and inflation accelerates faster than expected, according to a Reuters report.

Speaking to Japan's parliament, Ueda said it is "appropriate to maintain monetary easing," in light of current economic, price and financial developments.

His comments come ahead of the BOJ policy meeting later this week, which will be the first meeting he chairs since taking the helm earlier this month.

— Reuters, Lim Hui Jie

General Motors and Samsung plan to build EV battery plant in U.S.: Reuters

GM and Samsung SDI will announce as early as Tuesday that they plan to build a joint-venture plant to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in the U.S., Reuters reported.

Citing sources, Reuters said the Detroit-based company's reported joint venture with Samsung is an attempt to diversify its battery supplies to catch up with Tesla. GM is already partnering LG Energy Solutions to build three battery plants, but declined to move forward with a fourth.

This comes as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visits Washington, accompanied by more than 100 executives from South Korea's biggest companies. An announcement would likely come as Yoon meets U.S. President Joe Biden, Reuters said.

GM is betting big on EVs and became the second-biggest EV seller in the U.S. in the first quarter. But it's still trailing Tesla by a huge margin, according to analysts' estimates.

Samsung SDI shares were down 1.65% Monday.

— Yeo Boon Ping

Hong Kong unemployment rate falls to lowest since October 2019

Hong Kong's unemployment rate fell to 3.1% for the period of January to March, compared with 3.3% in the period from December 2022 to February.

This marks the 10th straight month of decline in unemployment for the territory, and the lowest since October 2019, according to Refinitiv data.

Hong Kong's census and statistics department said it observed notable decreases in the building maintenance, repair and decoration sector, as well as in the wholesale sector.

The territory's labor and welfare secretary Chris Sun forecasts that Hong Kong's labor market should improve further, pointing at a continued revival of domestic economic activities and inbound tourism, as well as a disbursement of a new batch of consumption vouchers.

— Lim Hui Jie

China guides banks to further cut deposit rates: Reuters

China has guided banks in the country to cut deposit interest rates further, Reuters reported.

Citing seven people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters said this was in an effort to "channel the country's vast savings pool into spending and more productive investments."

China's central bank does not set bank rates directly but guides them through the its so-called interest rate self-regulatory mechanism, which comprises both small and big banks.

According to one person briefed on the plans, Reuters said one of China's "big four" state lenders plans to cut some personal and corporate rates next week.

Earlier this month, small and medium-sized Chinese banks slashed interest rates, following similar moves by larger banks a year ago.

— Lim Hui Jie

CNBC Pro: Want to cash in on clean hydrogen? HSBC names stocks, giving one upside of over 100%

Analysts have been very bullish about hydrogen as a corner of clean energy to invest in, as the push for clean energy gains impetus with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.

Clean hydrogen remains a "more compelling" decarbonization option – as opposed to batteries – when it comes to trucks, ships, trains and planes, HSBC said in an April 20 note.

The bank named stocks that offer exposure to hydrogen in a variety of ways, giving one upside of over 100%.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

South Korea economy grows 0.8% in first quarter

South Korea's gross domestic product climbed 0.8% in the first quarter compared with a year ago, according to advance estimates from the country's central bank.

This was slightly lower than economists expectations of 0.9%.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, South Korea's GDP expanded by 0.3%, slightly higher than economists expectations of 0.2%

South Korea's benchmark Kospi opened marginally higher following the announcement, while the Kosdaq fell 0.25%

— Lim Hui Jie

May Fed meeting will create 'overhang' on market this week, Oppenheimer investment strategist says

Though the Federal Reserve policy meeting isn't taking place until next week, Oppenheimer said the knowledge that it's on the horizon can add volatility to the market this week.

"This week with earnings season activity ramping up across a broad array of sectors we expect investors' anticipation of the Federal Reserve's upcoming FOMC meeting in the first week of May to add to the day to day tone and volatility of the markets," said John Stoltzfus, the firm's chief investment strategist.

Many market participants expect the central bank to implement another quarter-percentage point interest rate hike at the next meeting. Investors have been closely watching the Fed amid concerns that its rate hike campaign could now tip the economy into a slowdown or recession.

"A brace of uncertainty remains as an overhang to the markets as to how long the Fed will keep raising rates and whether or not its efforts will push the economy into recession before the current Fed fund hike cycle concludes," Stoltzfus said.

— Alex Harring

Fox stock falls as Tucker Carlson leaves Fox News

Shares of Fox were under pressure after Fox News announced that host Tucker Carlson was leaving the cable network, effective immediately.

Fox's class A and B shares were each down about 4% after the announcement.

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Fox's stock fell after Tucker Carlson left Fox News.

Carlson's departure comes shortly Fox settled a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems for nearly $800 million.

"FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways," the company said in a statement on Monday. "We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor."

— Jesse Pound

First-quarter earnings are faring better than consensus expectations

Roughly one-third of S&P 500 members are set to report earnings this week, with investors looking to technology giants and heavyweights in the energy and industrials sectors for further clues about broader economic health. 

So far, earnings this quarter have fared better than expectations. According to a recent note from Goldman Sachs, 53% of companies in the broader index have beat consensus estimates by at least 1 standard deviation, higher than the 25-year average of 48%. Fifteen percent of companies have missed consensus estimates by at least 1 standard deviation, lower than the 25-year average of 14%.

Here are some key names reporting this week:

— Pia Singh

Technology stocks lag as busy tech earnings week begins

Technology stocks underperformed on Monday, contributing to a 0.6% decline in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite as of 10:45 a.m. EST.

The S&P 500's information technology sector fell 0.6%, led to the downside by falling chip stocks and declines in clean energy stocks, with First Solar and Enphase Energy losing 5.4% and 1.3%, respectively. Among the chipmakers, Advanced Micro Devices lost 1.7%, while Lam Research, Qorvo and Western Digital lost at least 1% each. Salesforce fell 1.5%.

Consumer discretionary stocks also lagged, with Tesla and Amazon last down 3.2% and 0.8%, respectively. Some cruise stocks also contributed to the declines.

This week brings earnings reports from major technology stocks including Microsoft, Alphabet and Meta Platforms. Shares of all three companies moved modestly lower during morning trading, weighing on the Nasdaq.

— Samantha Subin