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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (April 28, 2014)

April 28, 2014, Monday, 06:33 GMT | 01:33 EST | 10:03 IST | 12:33 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- Japan retail sales rose sharply in the month of March as consumers stocked up with last-minute shopping ahead of the start of higher sales tax on April 1st. For the year, the 11% jump was the fastest pace of increase since March of 1997. USD/JPY tracked slightly lower in the wake of the beat, falling about 10pips toward ¥102. Stronger data incrementally raise the possibility of the BOJ maintaining a neutral stance for longer than the currently expected late-summer announcement of further QE. Note the BOJ will unveil its latest policy decision and updated outlook on economy and inflation this coming Wednesday. Separately in Japan, the typically fiscally conservative Fin Min Aso acknowledged corporate taxes may have to be lowered to maintain corporate competitiveness.

- Also in economic data, China announced slightly improved Ytd growth in industrial profits. Subsequent reports indicated that only a handful of industries saw a profitable Q1, mainly auto manufacturing, power generation, and telecommunication equipment production. Among some of the other notable press reports from the mainland, China State Information Center (SIC) estimated Q2 GDP growth in line with that of Q1 at 7.4%. In terms of China IPO pipeline, the volume of filings was speculated to rise to nearly 500, about 5x the number announced last week. In large China financials, China Construction Bank's Q1 net profit rose to CNY65.9B v CNY59.7B y/y, but non-performing loans also rose 3bps to 1.02%. CCB traded up about 0.8%.

- In Australia, shares of Goodman Fielder spiked up nearly 20% after the company rebuffed a takeover proposal from Wilmar International, announcing the offer materially undervalues company. On the macro front, CBA business confidence index fell to 35 for Mar quarter from 47 in Dec quarter, though resident economist noted that capex and labor hiring are still expected to increase.

- In other notable M&A flows, Siemens interrupted the GE takeover of Alstom assets, announcing it wants to discuss "future strategic opportunities" and would be willing to match or top GE's offer. Alstom requested a trading halt until Wednesday, at which point it will make an announcement having held talks with govt officials and conducted extensive strategic review. Also of note, FT reported Pfizer may once again approach AstraZeneca with a bid as high as $100B coming as early as this week, even though the company dodged last week's tie-up speculation by noting those talks had gone "dormant" for months.

- Eastern Ukraine situation continued to simmer this weekend, with tensions escalated by detainment of OSCE inspectors by the pro-Russian separatists. The rebels announced they could be seen as "prisoners of war" and demanded an exchange from the Kiev govt. G7 is said to be preparing another wave of sanctions to be unveiled as early as Monday that would target Russia's defense ministry and companies close to Putin. Pres Obama's NSA adviser Blinken once again ruled out assistance through weaponry, stating "it wouldn't make a difference in terms of their (Ukrainians) ability to stand up to the Russians."

***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- (JP) BOJ offers to buy ¥250B in 1-3yr JGB, ¥250B in 3-5yr JGB and ¥400B in 5-10yr JGB as wells ¥2.5T in T-bills
- (KR) South Korea govt (MOF) sells KRW850B in 20-yr govt bonds; avg yield: 3.740%; bid-to-cover 4.541x
- USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.1565 v 6.1576 prior setting (4th consecutive firmer Yuan setting, strongest setting since Apr 14th)

US markets:
- ALO.FR: Siemens said to be prepared to match or beat Alstom offer with GE; Wants to discuss "future strategic opportunities" - financial press
- AZN: Pfizer said to be express renewed interest to acquire AstraZeneca; Bid at over $100B could come as early as this week - FT
- CMCSA: $20B deal between Comcast, Time Warner could be announced this week - FT
- MRK: Said to be in final stages of negotiation to sell its consumer health unit for nearly $14B - financial press

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: Zhejiang Shibao 1057.HK -1.9% (Q1 results); 21 Holdings 1003.HK -11.1% (private placement plan)
- Financials: Agricultural Bank of China 1288.HK +1.3% (Q1 results); China Construction Bank 939.HK +0.8% (Q1 results); China Life Insurance 2628.HK -1.7% (Q1 results)
- Materials: Angang Steel 347.HK -1.9% (Q1 results)
- Energy: Tap Oil TAP.AU +7.5% (announces debt facility); Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology 002202.CN +2.6% (Q1 results); Shandong Molong Petroleum Machinery 568.HK -4.0% (Q1 results)
- Industrials: Honda Motor 7267.JP -4.2% (FY13/14 results)
- Technology: Japan Display 6740.JP -13.1% (cuts FY13/14 guidance)

***Economic Data***
- (JP) JAPAN MAR RETAIL SALES M/M: 6.3% V 6.0%E; Y/Y: 11.0% (fastest rise since Mar 1997) V 10.8%E

Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 -1.2%, S&P/ASX %, Kospi %, Shanghai Composite -1.0%, Hang Seng -0.3%, Jun S&P500 +0.1% at 1,861, Jun gold +0.3% at $1,304, Jun crude oil +0.4% at $101.03/brl