Asia markets mixed as China's loan prime rates remain unchanged; Japan hits new 33-year highs

Shreyashi Sanyal
Lim Hui Jie

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

Tiananmen, Gate of Heavenly Peace, Beijing

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Monday as China kept its loan prime rates unchanged, as expected.

The Nikkei 225 hit a near 34-year high to end 1.62% higher at 36,546.95, while the broader Topix gained 1.39% to close at 2,544.92.

On the other hand, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 2.52%, led by real estate stocks after the People's Bank of China left the one- and five-year loan prime rates left unchanged at 3.45% and 4.2%, respectively. China's CSI 300 index ended 1.56% lower at 3,218.90.

The Bank of Japan kicked off its two-day monetary policy meeting today, and will announce its policy decision on Tuesday.

Japan will release its trade balance data for December on Tuesday and January inflation numbers for Tokyo on Friday.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.75% higher at 7,476.60, extending gains from Friday and starting the week on a positive note.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.34% to close at 2,464.35 while the small-cap Kosdaq dropped 0.35% to 839.69.

South Korea will also release its gross domestic product figures for the fourth quarter of 2023 on Wednesday.

TICKERCOMPANYNAMEPRICECHANGE%CHANGE
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI37,391.57-688.13-1.81%
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI16,385.87UNCHUNCH
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2007,559.30-82.80-1.08%
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3,074.22UNCHUNCH
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2,586.65-48.05-1.82%
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1009,008.90-88.67-0.97%

On Friday in the U.S., the S&P500 index rose 1.23% to settle at 4,839.81, crossing both the record intraday and closing highs from January 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which set its own all-time high at the end of last year, added 1.05%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.70%.

— CNBC's Hakyung Kim and Lisa Kailai Han contributed to this report.

Mon, Jan 22 2024 2:37 AM EST

Sony terminates $10 billion merger with India's Zee Entertainment

Sony Group has terminated a $10 billion merger between its Indian subsidiary, Sony Network Pictures India, with Indian media conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises

In a filing, Sony said that it issued a notice to Zee terminating the agreement as "conditions to the merger were not satisfied" by the agreed upon deadline.

While the company did not specify the conditions that were unmet, Bloomberg reported on Jan. 8 that there were disagreements between the two sides on who would lead the combined entity.

Sony also said in its filing that it does not expect any material impact on its financial results as a result of the termination.

— Lim Hui Jie

Mon, Jan 22 2024 1:29 AM EST

Malaysia's inflation rate holds steady at two-year low

Malaysia's consumer price index rose 1.5% year on year in December, unchanged from November's figure and in line with expectations from economists polled by Reuters.

The country's inflation rate has fallen steadily from a peak of 4.7% in August 2022 to a slower rate of 1.5% in November — a two-year low.

Inflation in December was driven mainly by price increases in restaurants and hotels, miscellaneous goods and services, as well as food & non-alcoholic beverages, according to Malaysia's statistics department, which noted that these categories all saw smaller price increases compared to November.

— Lim Hui Jie

Sun, Jan 21 2024 11:03 PM EST

Real estate stocks drag Hang Seng to be biggest loser among Asian benchmarks

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled over 2%, led by real estate stocks after the People's Bank of China held its one-year and five-year loan prime rates at 3.45% and 4.2%, respectively.

The largest loser on the HSI was property developer China Resources Land, which plunged 9.54%.

Other stocks on the biggest losers list also included residential property services investment firm Longfor Group, which lost 5.99%, as well as hotpot chain Haidilao, which declined 6.27%.

See Chart...

— Lim Hui Jie

Sun, Jan 21 2024 8:15 PM EST

China LPR decision awaited, markets expect no change

Investors will be looking out for an update from China's central bank on its one- and five-year loan prime rates at around 09:15 a.m. Singapore time.

The one- and five-year LPR currently stand at 3.45% and 4.2%, respectively, and markets expect the People's Bank of China to make no changes to the rates.

PBOC surprised market participants and held the rate on some 995 billion yuan ($138.84 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans unchanged at 2.50% last week.

"The market expects both the 1Y and 5Y LPRs to be unchanged at 3.45% and 4.2% respectively," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a client note, while also noting that China's foreign direct investment recorded its biggest annual drop in 2023 since 2009.

Commerzbank said FDI in China fell 8% last year, in Chinese yuan terms, attributing the decline to several factors including the country's economic slowdown, high global interest rates, increasing regulatory and geopolitical risks, and the West's tough stance on China's technology sector.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Sun, Jan 21 2024 7:16 PM EST

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names its biopharma stock favorites as "strength against an uncertain macro" — and gives one 119% upside

The biopharmaceutical sector is expected to offer a safe haven from macroeconomic and earnings concerns ahead of quarterly results from European companies, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Wall Street bank said European biopharma stock prices should be supported in the near term due to its "undemanding valuations and a backdrop of challenging macro conditions and cyclical earnings risk".

The investment bank named 8 stocks with a 'Buy' rating in the sector, and gave one 119% upside potential. CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Sun, Jan 21 2024 7:16 PM EST

CNBC Pro: These 4 anti-obesity drug stocks could soar, Berenberg says – giving one 44% upside

The anti-obesity drug market is expected to remain in focus this year after a bumper 2023 for weight loss drug makers Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, according to Berenberg.

The Germany-headquartered investment bank expects a combination of new clinical data and the expiry of Novo's patent for the active ingredient in first-generation GLP-1 drugs to unleash new opportunities for several generic drug manufacturers in Europe. GLP-1 drugs encourage the production of hormones that cause weight loss through reduced appetite.

Berenberg's analysts have named 4 stocks of generic drug makers that are set to benefit from the expiry of these patents.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Fri, Jan 19 2024 3:07 PM EST

Oil books weekly gain on Mideast tensions

Oil prices edged slightly lower on Friday but booked a weekly gain on tensions in the Middle East.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for February fell 67 cents, or .9%, to settle at $73.41 a barrel. The Brent contract for March shed 54 cents, or .68%, to settle at $78.56 a barrel.

U.S. crude booked a one week gain of 1% as investors keep a close eye on whether attacks by militants in the Red Sea could lead to a supply disruption. The global bench mark was up .47% for the week.

— Spencer Kimball

Fri, Jan 19 2024 11:57 AM EST

Consumer sentiment levels jump to highest level since July 2021

The University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers released on Friday indicated that consumers are growing increasingly confident on the economy and falling inflation.

The survey showed a reading of 78.8 for January, its highest level since July 2021 and up 21.4% from a year ago. That followed a big jump in December and comes despite public opinion surveys showing concern about the nation's direction.

On a two-month basis, sentiment showed its largest increase since 1991, said Joanne Hsu, the survey's director.

More on the survey results can be found here.

— Hakyung Kim, Jeff Cox

Fri, Jan 19 2024 3:36 PM EST

Bitcoin rides the stock market rally but still heads for a losing week

Bitcoin and ether rose with the stock market to end the week after the S&P 500 jumped to a new all-time high.

The price of bitcoin was up 2% at $41,763.87, after falling back to the key support level of $40,000 Thursday. Ether was 2% higher and trading at $2,491.82.

"Positive consumer sentiment and slowing inflation helped fuel the rally in risk-on assets," said Ryan Rasmussen, analyst at Bitwise Asset Management. "Investors generally view crypto investments as similar to tech and risk-on investments, so crypto riding this rally makes sense."

Bitcoin is still on pace to post a 4% loss for a week. It's fallen 10% since Jan. 10, when bitcoin ETFs were greenlit to begin trading in the U.S. The ETF approvals were widely expected to be a sell-the-news event. Ether is on pace to finish the week lower by 3%.

The move in crypto assets wasn't enough to pull up equities, however. Coinbase, Microstrategy and several mining stocks – including CleanSpark, Iris Energy and Riot Platforms – were flat. Marathon Digital rose about 1%.

— Tanaya Macheel

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