Asia-Pacific markets slid as Wall Street saw a pause in its market rally and the broad market index fluctuated near its highest closing levels since August 2022. Investors in the region also further assessed economic data that has been released this week.
Australia stocks were down 0.26% and ended at 7,099.7 for its third straight day of losses, after the country's trade surplus fell more than expected to 11.16 billion Australian dollars ($7.44 billion) in April.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 extended its slide from Wednesday in a volatile session and fell 0.85% to end at 31,641.27, while the Topix was down 0.67% to end at 2,191.5.
Japan's annualized GDP for the first quarter was revised to 2.7%, higher than the 1.9% expected by economists polled by Reuters and the 1.6% posted in its initial figures.
South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.18% to end at 2,610.85 and snap a three day winning streak, while the Kosdaq slipped 0.52% to finish at 876.13.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index extended its rally on Wednesday and rose 0.12% in its final hour of trade, while mainland Chinese markets bucked the trend and reversed earlier losses to head into the green.
India's central bank has held rates at 6.5% for a second straight time, in line with expectations from economists polled by Reuters.
— CNBC's Hakyung Kim and Samantha Subin contributed to this report
Thai consumer confidence touches 39 month high in May
Thailand's consumer confidence index reached its highest level in more than three years in May
The index rose to 55.7 in May from 55.0 in April, the highest level since February 2020's reading of 64.2, marking the twelfth consecutive month of increased readings.
The indicator remains below 100-point mark that separates improving outlook from a deteriorating trajectory.
Reuters reported that this was due to higher foreign tourist arrivals and increased activity during the recent national election.
The report also added that the spending during the May election helped fuel consumption, and confidence was also boosted by a better-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter.
— Lim Hui Jie
China's big banks cut deposit rates
China's six state-owned commercial banks cut deposit rates Thursday, according to checks by CNBC.
The move boosts banks' profitability and paves the way for the People's Bank of China to lower benchmark interest rates, Nomura analysts pointed out.
China's central bank has kept key benchmark rates unchanged for nine months. Updated rates are due out on June 15 and June 20.
— Evelyn Cheng
India's central bank holds repo rate at 6.5% for second-straight month
The Reserve Bank of India held its key repurchase rate at 6.5% in May for a second straight month.
The Indian rupee slightly weakened 0.1% after the announcement and last traded at 82.56 against the U.S. dollar.
All 64 economists polled by Reuters expected the central bank to leave the repo rate at 6.50% for a second straight meeting. India's monetary policy committee includes three members from the RBI and three external members.
The RBI held its repurchase rate at 6.5% last month, marking the first time it had done so since April 2022.
The repurchase rate, or repo rate, is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to commercial banks or financial institutions in India against government securities.
— Clement Tan
Commodities check: China's coal imports surge, oil prices steady
The roughly 90% jump in China's imports for coal and lignite in May indicates the rise in demand for coal in the economy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Vivek Dhar said in a Thursday note.
"The rise in imports in the first five months of 2023 has been accompanied by an increase in China's domestic coal output," Dhar said in a daily note, adding China's industrial output data from the beginning of 2023 confirms the narrative of an increase in the superpower's demand for coal.
Elsewhere, copper futures for July hit a high of $3.8115 per pound on Wednesday, marking the highest since May 11 when it traded as high as $3.8555 per pound. Futures last traded at $3.7445 in Asia's morning.
—Lee Ying Shan, Gina Francolla
Australia's trade surplus tumbles more than expected, exports slip
Australia's trade surplus slid to 11.16 billion Australian dollars ($7.44 billion) in April, sharply lower than the AU$14 billion expected by economists polled by Reuters, government data showed Thursday.
Most notably, total exports from the country slipped 5% to AU$56.18 billion, compared to a 4% rise in April.
Exports of goods fell 7% compared to April, but services exports gained 7.8%.
Total imports grew 1.6% compared to March to AU$45.02 billion, with imports of goods and services increasing 1.1% and 3.7% respectively compared to March.
The Australian dollar rose 0.14% to 0.6659 against the U.S. dollar.
— Lim Hui Jie
Japan's GDP revised sharply higher, grew 2.7% in the first quarter
Japan's economy grew an annualized 2.7% in the first quarter of the year, expanding further than earlier estimates of 1.6% made last month, government data showed, as the economy continues to see robust spending.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected to see growth of 1.9%.
The Japanese yen strengthened by 0.14% to 139.98 against the U.S. dollar shortly after the release. Quarter-on-quarter, the economy expanded by 0.7%, beating estimates by Reuters of 0.5%.
Private demand rose by 1.2% and domestic demand also rose by 1%, while exports of goods and services saw a drop of 4.2%. Imports also fell by 2.3%, revised government estimates showed.
– Jihye Lee
CNBC Pro: Buy this cheap insurance giant with 9.2% yield, Bank of America says
Bank of America has named a European insurance giant as one of its top picks in the insurance sector, given its attractively low valuation.
In addition to the generous dividend yield, the investment bank expects shares to rise by 30% over the next 12 months.
— Ganesh Rao
CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs is bullish on these 5 stocks in a corner of A.I. — giving one 140% upside
Goldman Sachs is bullish about generative artificial intelligence: It expects it will drive upside in the broader S&P 500 — and one specific corner of tech.
It gives the fair value upside for the S&P 500, and lists stocks to buy.
— Weizhen Tan
Mega-cap stocks underperform Wednesday
During what has been a strong day for small-cap names, mega-cap stocks have underperformed the market.
Shares of tech giants Microsoft and Google pared down 2.7% and 3.3%, respectively. Several semiconductor names also saw shares pull back after rallying the previous week. Nvidia lost 1.1%, while Qualcomm shares fell 1.2%.
— Hakyung Kim
Trade deficit jumps in April, but less than expected
The U.S. trade deficit rose sharply in April, though the increase wasn't quite as much as expected.
The goods and services imbalance hit $74.6 billion for the month, $1 billion less than the Dow Jones estimate but a $14 billion increase from March. Exports tumbled by $9.2 billion, while imports rose by $4.8 billion.
Imports are a net negative for GDP, so the April figure could mean lower growth for the second quarter.
Warner Bros Discovery shares pop
Shares of Warner Bros Discovery rallied nearly 5% in midday trading after CNN announced CEO Chris Licht was leaving.
CNN, which is owned by Warner Bros Discovery, said Licht was out after a rocky year at the helm that included criticism over the network's town hall with former president Donald Trump. He was also facing a rebellion among the talent and staff.
— Michelle Fox
Amazon planning to launch ad tier for Prime streaming service, according to WSJ report
Amazon is planning to create ad-supported subscription tiers for Prime Video, according to a report from the WSJ. The move would come as other competitor streaming services also create ad-supported tiers to generate more revenue for their streaming services.
Amazon shares were down more than 3% Wednesday afternoon.
— Hakyung Kim