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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (April 18, 2014)

April 18, 2014, Friday, 05:42 GMT | 00:42 EST | 09:12 IST | 11:42 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News


***Highlights/Observations/Insights***
- China March property prices slowed for the third consecutive month while also hitting an 8-month low of 7.7% across 70-cities, down from 8.7% in February. The report is yet another sign that Beijing was largely successful in curbing the overheating property sector, supporting the case for some of the recent reports of initiatives that would effectively unwind those measures. China's top property names such as Poly and Vanke traded down by about 2% after the property price figures before coming off the lows in the afternoon session.

- Despite the scepticism from US and Ukrainian officials leading up to Thursday's 4-party talks on Ukraine in Geneva, western powers did come to terms on deescalation of the standoff with Russian foreign min Lavrov. The joint statement released after the meeting calls for a surrender of all illegally armed groups that took over municipal buildings across the towns and cities of east Ukraine. Western leaders also voiced their preference for Ukrainians to resolve this political conflict by themselves and through diplomatic means, while Russia continued to push for more scope for Russian language to be officially recognized in Ukraine and for eastern regions to have broader autonomy. State Sec Kerry, who negotiated on behalf of the US in Geneva, said there would be more sanctions put in place if Russia does not follow through with actions by this weekend. Pres Obama also held a press conference where, in addition to further defense of the ACA, he reiterated that military options are not on the table for Ukraine.

- Japan cabinet officials discussed the high-profile calls for the ruling LDP party to imprement corporate tax cuts so as to help offset the impact from rising sales tax. Typically conservative Fin Min Aso reiterated that in order to pursue lower corporate rates the govt will have to find alternative sources of revenue, while Chief Cabinet Secy Suga reminded that a move toward corporate tax cuts would be in accordance with the promises made by the LDP in its campaign.

- IMF report on Korea saw the current BOK policy stance as appropriate due to lack of inflation and also urged restraint against intervention in the currency markets despite the recent KRW strength. IMF noted that any intervention should be limited to "smoothing" operations and that even despite the recent KRW rally, it remains undervalued by as much as 8%.

***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- (US) Weekly Fed Balance Sheet Total Assets Week ending April 16th: $4.24T v $4.24T prior; Reserve Bank Credit: $4.20T v $4.20T prior; M1: +$21.4B (2nd consecutive rise) v +$20.1B prior; M2: +$41.5B (biggest rise in a year) v -$37.0B prior
- (JP) BOJ offers to buy ¥400B in 5-10yr JGB and ¥170B in JGB with maturity over 10-yr
- GLD: SPDR Gold Trust ETF daily holdings fall 3.3 tonnes to 795.1 tonnes (lowest since 793.2 on Feb 3rd)

***Equities***
US markets:
- AMD: Reports Q1 $0.02 v $0.00e, R$1.4B v $1.33Be; +5.7% afterhours
- SCSS: Reports Q1 $0.31 v $0.31e, R$276M v $275Me; +3.3% afterhours
- ATHN: Reports Q1 $0.15 (adj) v $0.17e, R$163M v $170Me; -2.8% afterhours

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: Great Wall Motor 601633.CN -4.8% (Q1 results)
- Financials: Shanxi Securities 002500.CN +1.3% (Q1 results)
- Energy: Eve Energy 300014.CN -1.3% (Q1 results)
- Industrials: Komatsu 6301.JP -0.9% (analyst action); Mazda Motor 7261.JP +1.6% (speculation on FY14/15 results); Hitachi 6501.JP +0.4% (speculation on FY14/15 results)
- Technology: ZTE Corp 000063.CN +1.2% (Q1 results); Datang Telecom Technology 600198.CN +4.1%, Fujian Star-net Communication 002396.CN +4.2%, Xiamen Kehua Hengsheng 002335.CN +1.5% (China to accelerate IPv6 development)
- Healthcare: Zhejiang Wolwo Bio-Pharmaceutical 300357.CN +4.6% (FY13 results)


***Economic Data***
- (CN) CHINA MAR NEW HOME PRICES M/M: PRICES RISE IN 56 OF 70 CITIES V 57 PRIOR; Y/Y: PRICES RISE IN 69 OF 70 CITIES V 69 PRIOR
- (JP) JAPAN FEB TERTIARY INDUSTRY INDEX M/M: -1.0% V +0.2%E (biggest decline in a year)
- NPD: Mar total US video game sales $1.03B, +3% y/y
- (CL) CHILE CENTRAL BANK LEAVES OVERNIGHT RATE TARGET UNCHANGED AT 4.00%, AS EXPECTED

Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 +0.6%, S&P/ASX closed, Kospi +0.6%, Shanghai Composite flat, Hang Seng closed