China and Hong Kong stocks lead gains in Asia markets; Evergrande shares plunge

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

Japan ,Tokyo City skyline, Tokyo Tower. (Photo by: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Prisma By Dukas | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong stocks led gains in the region, as Asia-Pacific markets started the final trading week of August higher.

Chinese authorities trimmed the stamp duty on stock trades, effective Monday. The finance ministry said the move was meant to "invigorate the capital market and boost investor confidence."

The benchmark CSI 300 surged 1.17%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 0.95%, led by consumer cyclicals and health-care stocks.

Shares of the world's most indebted property developer China Evergrande Group tumbled 87% as trade resumed after 17 months.

Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.73% to end at 32,169.99 while the Topix was up 1.47%, closing at 2,299.81. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.96% to 2,543.41, while the Kosdaq advanced 1.11% to 909.38.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.63% to close at 7,159.8 after the country's retail sales climbed 0.5% month on month, higher than the 0.3% expected by economists polled by Reuters.

On Friday, U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said that inflation remains "too high" and that the central bank is "prepared to raise rates further if appropriate." All three major indexes rose, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.7%, the S&P 500 added about 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced about 0.9%. Both the S&P and Nasdaq snapped three-week losing streaks.

— CNBC's Pia Singh and Hakyung Kim contributed to this report

Tata Steel CEO says sustainability considerations are very important for the industry as it develops

Tata Steel CEO discusses EU carbon tax and China's slowdown
Tata Steel CEO discusses EU carbon tax and China's slowdown

Steel is a growing sector particularly in India, thereby making it "very important" for sustainability to be part of the solution, said CEO of Tata Steel, T. V. Narendran.

"We're going to have about 100 million tons of steel capacity being added every year, every decade for the next few decades because of the demand for steel in India," he told CNBC on the sidelines of the B20 Summit in India.

Narendran said, however, that a green transition cannot be solely financed by the industry.

"Industry plays a role- has to fund some of [the] cost of transition. But governments also have to play a role. And customers also have to play a role because green steel will cost more."

India is currently the world's second largest producer of steel, after China.

— Lee Ying Shan

Australia's July retail sales up 2.1% year-on-year

Seasonally adjusted retail sales in Australia rose 0.5% in July compared to June, higher than the 0.3% increase expected from economists polled by Reuters.

June's data was a reversal from the 0.2% fall seen in June.

Retail sales came in at 35.38 billion Australian dollars ($22.75 billion) for July, higher by 2.1% year-on-year.

— Lim Hui Jie

Xpeng shares soar after announcing $744 million deal with Didi

Chinese electric car company Xpeng's shares soared by more than 13% in late-morning Hong Kong trade after news of a $744 million deal with ride-hailing giant Didi.

Xpeng will acquire Didi's smart electric car assets via a share exchange, giving Didi the role of strategic shareholder, the two companies announced Monday.

With the new assets, Xpeng plans to launch its first electric car model under a new mass market brand, which currently has a project codename of "MONA."

Read the full story here.

Foxconn founder reportedly announces bid for Taiwan presidency

Billionaire and Foxconn founder Terry Gou said he would join the race to become Taiwan's president, according to media reports.

This is the billionaire's second bid for the presidency. He failed to win the nomination for the opposition Kuomintang party in 2019.

Currently, the presidential front runner is Vice President William Lai from the Democratic Progressive Party, who transited in the U.S. last week en route to Paraguay, one of Taiwan's few remaining allies.

Taiwan will go to the polls in January to select its next president.

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Lim Hui Jie

Evergrande shares plunge as much as 87% as trading resumes after 17 months

Shares of the world's most indebted property developer China Evergrande Group plunged as much as 87% on its open on Monday, trading for the first time since March 21, 2022.

Shares fell to as low as 22 Hong Kong cents on Monday, compared to its last close at 1.65 Hong Kong dollars per share on March 18, 2022.

The resumption of trade comes as the company posted a loss of 39.25 billion yuan ($5.38 billion) for the six months ended June, a smaller loss compared to the 86.17 billion yuan loss the same period a year ago.

Read the full story here.

— Lim Hui Jie

China halves stamp duty on stock trades

China halved its stamp duty on stock trades in order to "invigorate the capital market and boost investor confidence."

The finance ministry said this will take effect on Monday. Stamp duties on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange stood at 0.1% before the change.

— Lim Hui Jie

CNBC Pro: BofA names its 5 favorite AI-linked stocks — giving one 30% upside

Artificial intelligence continues to take Wall Street by storm — Nvidia reported earnings that smashed expectations on the back of demand for AI chips.

Investors interested in buying into the market can look to BofA's top five favorite AI-exposed stocks, which it listed in an Aug. 20 note.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read about them here.

— Weizhen Tan

Powell says 'economy may not be cooling as expected.' That's good news and bad news

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in his annual address in Jackson Hole, Wyoming early Friday that central bank policymakers "are attentive to signs that the economy may not be cooling as expected."

On the one hand, faster-than-expected economic growth is good for corporate earnings, and means that Treasury yields have risen this summer for what investors would regard as good reasons.

On the other, yields have surged, pressuring not only growth stocks whose future earnings are discounted at the risk-free Treasury rate, but indebted companies that have to roll over their obligations at higher rates.

"So far this year, GDP (gross domestic product) growth has come in above expectations and above its longer-run trend, and recent readings on consumer spending have been especially robust," Powell said in his speech. "In addition, after decelerating sharply over the past 18 months, the housing sector is showing signs of picking back up. Additional evidence of persistently above-trend growth could put further progress on inflation at risk and could warrant further tightening of monetary policy."

— Scott Schnipper

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names cash-rich global stocks with 'better downside protection'

Morgan Stanley named a raft of European stocks with strong balance sheets, lots of cash or high shareholder returns.

The bank said the latest quarterly results showed a slowdown in revenue, earnings and cash flow "as companies brace for higher interest rates and a less certain macro environment," but it identified several that appear to be bucking the trend in a research note seen by CNBC on Wednesday.

The bank analyzed more than 400 companies that trade on the MSCI Europe index to create several stock screens.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read about 20 of them here.

— Lucy Handley

CNBC Pro: China’s big internet names have mostly beat. Here’s where analysts think the stocks are headed

Worries about China's economy have depressed market sentiment.

Chinese internet tech companies AlibabaTencent and Baidu have reported solid quarterly earnings this month with little to show for it in stock performance..

But Gavekal's CEO and founding partner Louis-Vincent Gave points out that key parts of the market point to a more moderate picture.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

Fed's Austan Goolsbee backs sticking to 2% inflation target

Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee: It is premature for the Fed to declare victory on inflation
Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee: It is premature for the Fed to declare victory on inflation

Chicago Federal Reserve President Austan Goolsbee said Friday the central bank should stick to its goal to bring inflation down to 2%.

The question of whether the Fed needs to come all the way to its target, because of the risks of further tightening, has come up periodically. Earlier Friday, Chair Jerome Powell reaffirmed the commitment to 2%, and Goolsbee backed that up in an interview with CNBC's Steve Liesman at the Fed's Jackson Hole, Wyoming, symposium.

"I'm uncomfortable with declaring victory when it's clearly not victory," Goolsbee said. "We stated before we got into this what the target was going to be. I just don't feel like you can change your inflation target until you hit it that."

Generally considered a more dovish member of the Federal Open Market Committee, Goolsbee did not commit to a policy position. But he said that if positive inflation data continues, "Our argument is going to revolve around, well, how long should we keep rates at the levels they are, rather than how much higher should the rates go?"

—Jeff Cox

Fed's Mester sees need for more rate hikes

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said Friday she still thinks additional interest rate hikes will be needed to control inflation.

"We don't want to be satisfied, because inflation remains too high, and we need to see more evidence to be assured that it's coming down in a sustainable way and in a timely way," Mester told CNBC's Steve Liesman during an interview at the Fed's Jackson Hole symposium.

A nonvoting member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, Mester has been one of the more hawkish Fed officials, meaning she prefers tighter policy and higher rates, at least as long as inflation holds above the central bank's 2% target. In June, she penciled in two rate hikes this, one of which already has happened.

"We probably have some more work to do. I don't see that much that has changed in terms of my own outlook," she said. "What I think is very important is that we be diligent. Now, we have to be very careful. We don't want to over-tighten, we don't want to undershoot, and so it's that balancing."

—Jeff Cox

The 2- and 10-year Treasury spread hits deepest inversion since early August

A closely watched section of the U.S. Treasury yield curve on Friday notched its widest spread since early August.

The spread between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yield hit a low of -83.50. That's the deepest inversion since Aug. 10 when the gap widened to -88.20.

The 2-year yield neared highs of the session of 5.095%, which was the highest level since July 6 when the 2-yr yielded as high as 5.12%.

Meanwhile, the 10-year yield neared session highs at 4.285%, or the highest level since Aug. 23 when the 10-yr yielded as high as 4.32%.

— Gina Francolla, Sarah Min