Asia-Pacific markets rise after Wall Street sees bank stocks rebound

Jihye Lee
Lim Hui Jie

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

A pedestrian along the Bund in Shanghai, China Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets largely rose on Wednesday after bank stocks on Wall Street rebounded on optimism of contagion risks from Silicon Valley Bank being contained. The U.S. inflation print for February was in line with expectations at annualized 6% rise.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.62%, leading gains in the region, and the Hang Seng Tech index jumped 2.33%.

South Korea's Kospi rose 1.31% to end the day at 2,379.72, and the Kosdaq saw gains of 3.05% to close at 781.17 as the country's unemployment rate slightly fell month-on-month in February.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite inched up 0.55% to close at 3,263.31 and the Shenzhen Component fell marginally to end at 11,413.43 as investors further digested economic data out of China. The People's Bank of China kept its medium-term lending facility loan rates unchanged at 2.75%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was flat after paring earlier gains led by banks and financials, closing at 27,229.48. The Topix rose 0.65% to end at 1,960.12. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.86% to close at 7,068.9.

.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI30,916.31+115.18+0.37%
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI18,746.92-369.01-1.93%
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2007,154.80+16.60+0.23%
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2,558.81+4.12+0.16%
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1008,192.89+81.54+1.01%

Overnight in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a five-day losing streak to end 1.06% higher, while the S&P 500 added 1.65% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.14%.

— CNBC's Alex Harring and Sarah Min contributed to this report.

Wed, Mar 15 2023 4:06 AM EDT

Samsung to build five new chip plants in South Korea: Nikkei

Samsung Electronics said on Wednesday that it will build five new domestic semiconductor plants in South Korea, Nikkei reported, in what the South Korean government said was a 300 trillion won ($230 billion) investment over the next approximately 20 years.

Nikkei cited a Samsung spokesman, who confirmed the construction plan and said that the company would try to invest that amount.

The South Korean government said the investment would be concluded by 2042, and that the "megacluster will be the key base of our semiconductor ecosystem," the company spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Shares of Samsung rose 1.36% on Wednesday.

– Lim Hui Jie

Wed, Mar 15 2023 2:46 AM EDT

U.S. inflation isn't falling — it's just not rising as quickly as it was, strategist says

Despite U.S. inflation coming in at a lower level in February than January, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising rates, according to Kevin Heal, fixed income strategist and senior analyst at Argus Research.

The U.S. consumer price index for February came in at 0.4%, slightly lower than January's figure of 0.5%.

Speaking to CNBC's "Street Signs Asia," Heal makes the point that despite the lower figures, "it is important to note that inflation is not falling, but just not rising as quickly as it was previously."

He thinks that while the market may see some "lower inflation figures" later in 2023, inflation will still be elevated, and as such, Heal says that "barring a another extraneous event in the in the banking system, we expect the Fed to remain on its path to higher rates."

— Lim Hui Jie

Wed, Mar 15 2023 3:10 AM EDT

Sea Group's digital bank launched in Singapore to a select group of people

MariBank, Sea Group-owned digital bank, launched in Singapore on Tuesday to selected members of the public as it rolls out its services progressively.

"We are rolling out our services progressively on an invite-only basis," its website said.

MariBank was previously only available to employees of Sea Group from the third quarter of 2022.

The bank currently only offers a savings account to retail customers at an annual interest rate of 2.5%, without requiring a minimum deposit.

Sea Group's shares rose as high as 3.31% in Tuesday's trading.

See Chart...
Sea Group's stock performance

— Sheila Chiang

Wed, Mar 15 2023 2:02 AM EDT

CATL sees declines after report says it's delaying its $5 billion Swiss listing

Shenzhen-listed shares of Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) slightly fell after Reuters reported the battery giant delayed plans for a $5 billion listing in Switzerland, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Reuters reported that there was a delay in expected approval from Chinese regulators, and that it comes after Chinese president Xi Jinping expressed having mixed feelings about the status of its role in a rising electric vehicle industry.

See Chart...

– Jihye Lee

Tue, Mar 14 2023 11:30 PM EDT

Health-care, technology stocks lead Hong Kong rally

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index led gains in the Asia-Pacific region as it climbed 2.35% on Wednesday, powered by health-care and technology stocks.

Some of the top gainers on the index were search engine company Baidu, which gained 6.28%, Alibaba Health Information Technology rose 5.59%, and internet company Netease, which saw shares climb 4.02%.

However, the top gainer on the HSI was Orient Overseas (International), which jumped 9.49%. The company is the parent company of container shipping firm Orient Overseas Container Line.

— Lim Hui Jie

Tue, Mar 14 2023 11:51 PM EDT

CNBC Pro: UBS says buy these 4 stocks if U.S.-China geopolitical fears continue to rise

UBS has named a number of Chinese stocks it says have remained "resilient" during periods of heightened geopolitical tensions between the United States and China.

In a note to clients on March 13, the Swiss bank said that more market volatility is expected when a potential U.S. ban on investment in some Chinese sectors is announced.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the UBS' stock picks here.

— Ganesh Rao

Tue, Mar 14 2023 9:54 PM EDT

Singapore and South Korea banks rise in early trading tracking Wall Street rebound

Bank stocks in Singapore and South Korea rose across the board on Wednesday morning, following gains by banks on Wall Street overnight.

In Singapore, OCBC Bank led gains among the country's three major banks, rising 2.24%, while UOB and DBS saw gains of 2.08% and 1.64% respectively.

See Chart...

South Korean financials saw slightly larger gains, with KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Financial and Woori Financial climbing 2.69%, 1.71% and 2.79% respectively.

— Lim Hui Jie

Tue, Mar 14 2023 10:12 PM EDT

China's industrial output, retail sales rise in January to February period

China's industrial output rose 2.4% in the January to February period, official data showed.

Retail sales rose 3.55% for the same period, in line with expectations.

China's fixed asset investment in the first two months of the year saw a rise of 5.5%, higher than expectations from economists polled by Reuters that predicted to see growth of 4.4%.

China's onshore yuan weakened after the data was released and traded at 6.8822 against the U.S. dollar.

The People's Bank of China kept the rate on 481 billion yuan of one-year medium-term lending facility loans at 2.75%.

See Chart...

– Jihye Lee

Tue, Mar 14 2023 8:20 PM EDT

Bank of Japan reiterates stance to maintain ultra-dovish policy

Minutes from the Bank of Japan's policy meeting in January showed members reiterating the need to maintain its ultra-dovish stance.

"The Bank should carefully explain that it needed to continue with monetary easing, that its accommodative monetary policy stance had not been changed, and that it would take time to achieve the price stability target of 2 percent in a sustainable and stable manner," a member was quoted as saying.

Minutes from the meeting also showed board members expect to see further recovery in Japan's economy.

"Some members expressed the view that the economy continued to pick up, led by domestic demand; specifically, a recovery in services demand and a virtuous cycle in the corporate sector had become the driving forces," it said.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bonds slightly rose to 0.296% after plunging from above the upper ceiling of its tolerance range last Thursday to mark 0.276% on Tuesday.

– Jihye Lee

Tue, Mar 14 2023 8:28 PM EDT

Japanese banks rise following Wall Street banks rebound

Japan financials rose in Wednesday's morning trade, reversing the direction seen earlier in the week and following Wall Street banks' rebound.

Tokyo-listed shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 3.25%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 2.73% and Mizuho Financial Group was also up 2.04%. Nomura Holdings also rose 1.7%.

Technology giant SoftBank Group meanwhile continued to see marginal losses of 0.62%.

See Chart...

– Jihye Lee

Tue, Mar 14 2023 8:04 PM EDT

South Korea's jobless rate drops to 2.6% in February

South Korea's seasonally adjusted jobless rate for February fell slightly to 2.6%, down from January's figure of 2.9%.

This was also lower than the 2.8% figure compared to the same period a year ago.

The total number of unemployed persons came in at 743,000, lower than January's 842,000 and February's 2022's figure of 797,000.

— Lim Hui Jie

Tue, Mar 14 2023 3:54 AM EDT

SVB's collapse unlikely to affect startup fundraising in Southeast Asia: VCs

The collapse of U.S.-based Silicon Valley Bank is unlikely to affect Southeast Asian startups raising funding, venture capital firms told CNBC.

"I think [the impact on fundraising is] a watch out, but I don't think that contagion spreads," said David Gowdey, managing partner at Southeast Asian VC firm Jungle Ventures, on CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Tuesday.

He added that "funds in Southeast Asia are well capitalized" and "there is a lot of capital to deploy."

Vinnie Lauria, managing partner at Golden Gate Ventures, said that this is the "time to shine" for Southeast Asia.

"[Southeast Asia] now looks like a golden child to U.S. investors," said Lauria, on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday.

"Investors are starting to say: I want to diversify to different bank accounts, different geographies, different currencies."

— Sheila Chiang

Tue, Mar 14 2023 11:04 AM EDT

Moody's cuts outlook to negative on U.S. banking system

Moody's Investors Service moved its view on the U.S. banking system to negative from stable on Monday, citing a "rapidly deteriorating operating environment."

The move comes as the sectors reels following the closure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Banking stocks have mounted a comeback Tuesday after sliding over the past few sessions as concerns of contagion from the closures swirled.

"We have changed to negative from stable our outlook on the US banking system to reflect the rapid deterioration in the operating environment following deposit runs at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Silvergate Bank, and Signature Bank (SNY) and the failures of SVB and SNY," Moody's said in a report.

— Alex Harring, Jeff Cox

Tue, Mar 14 2023 9:20 PM EDT

CNBC Pro: As markets turn rocky, these global stocks look resilient and are expected to rally

Markets have had a rocky March so far, as inflation fears returned and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank sent investors into a risk-off mode.

Against this backdrop, CNBC Pro used FactSet to screen for stocks on the MSCI World index and S&P 500 that look well positioned to withstand the volatility and are expected to do well looking ahead.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the stocks here.

— Weizhen Tan

Tue, Mar 14 2023 10:15 AM EDT

Markets increase odds of quarter-point Fed hike next week

Despite some speculation that recent bank failures might cause the Fed to hold off on interest rate hikes, market pricing indicates the central bank is still on track.

Consumer price index data released Tuesday morning was in line with market expectations, showing that the Fed still has work to do in its efforts to bring down inflation.

Traders were pricing in an 86.4% chance of a 25 basis point (0.25 percentage point) increase at next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, up from levels earlier in the morning. Moreover, the implied level of the peak, or terminal, rate rose to just shy of 5%, according to CME Group data.

There were some murmurs, though, that the Fed should take a more cautious approach in light of the implosions at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

"To be clear, we think further hikes now are unnecessary; the lagged effect of the increases over the past year are enough to push inflation back to target, but Fed officials have been unwilling so far to accept this argument and until last week they appeared set on further hikes," wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"Recent events make a strong case for a pause until May, but at this point that would be a pleasant surprise rather than our base case," he added.

—Jeff Cox

Tue, Mar 14 2023 9:21 PM EDT

CNBC Pro: ‘Chaos creates opportunities’: Strategist says to look beyond the SVB fallout — and names his top picks

Worried about contagion from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank? Veteran strategist Kenny Polcari believes the impact from SVB's failure will be fairly limited.

While investors are mostly shunning the banking sector in the short term, Polcari sees "some very interesting opportunities" in the space, as well as in other segments of the market.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Tue, Mar 14 2023 10:50 AM EDT

Financials outperform, led by regional banks

The S&P 500 financials sector rallied more than 2% to lead the broader market higher, boosted by regional bank names that sold off sharply in the previous session. As of shortly after 10 a.m. ET, the sector was on pace for its biggest one-day gain since Nov. 10, when it surged 5.1%.

Communication services and energy also gained more than 2%, along with technology.

— Fred Imbert

Tue, Mar 14 2023 8:34 AM EDT

U.S. inflation data comes in line with expectations

The consumer price index rose 0.4% in February from the prior month, matching a Dow Jones estimate. The year-over-year increase of 6% was also in line with expectations.

— Fred Imbert

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