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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (December 18, 2013)

December 18, 2013, Wednesday, 06:36 GMT | 01:36 EST | 11:06 IST | 13:36 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News


***Observations/Insights***
- All eyes on the Fed decision in the US on Wednesday afternoon; Late evening interview with Fed watcher Hilsenrath on CNBC saw the "Fed whisperer" side with PIMCO's el-Erian, who forecasted a 60% chance of the taper announcement at today's meeting, all despite more evidence of underwhelming inflation seen in Tuesday's CPI data. Note the Fed will also update its staff projections for the economy, which many expect to be lifted amid improving consumption/manufacturing/employment figures.
- China saw continued growth in the property prices, as November's 9.9% y/y rise for all-70 cities was a record high. M/M prices rose again by 0.5%, down slightly from 0.6%. Separately, Conference Board leading index increase was a 4-month high, but resident economists said that "despite the uptick, the economy does not appear to be gaining any underlying momentum, as manufacturing, exports and consumer expectations all continue to struggle." 1-week Shibor rates are at their highest levels since June, with PBoC remaining on the sidelines recently in terms of its open market operations.
- Rising fuel costs once again hampered Japan's terms of trade, sending merchandise balance to a multi-year deficit. Exports rose an impressive 18.4% - above 18.0% estimate - but import growth was even faster yet again at 21.1%. The value of crude oil imports rose 10.5%, as Japan continues to struggle with the shutdown of nuclear reactors.
- Reserve Bank of Australia Gov Stevens testimony before parliamentary committee was a replay of overnight release of RBA policy meeting minutes; RBA chief again hinted that rates are already very low and there is still accommodation in the pipeline from past easing, even though the door remains open to more rate cuts if they are required. Stevens also reiterated the exchange rate remains uncomfortably high and an intervention is not out of the question, but that the RBA could not be sure whether it would be successful.


***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- (CN) Daily Shibor fixings: O/N: 3.5880% v 3.4700% prior (3rd consecutive rise); 1-week: 5.9020% v 4.4590% prior (3rd consecutive rise, multi-weeks high, highest since June 27th)
- JGB: (JP) BOJ to increase FY14/15 30-yr JGB issuances by ¥1T, to lower 2-yr issuances by approx ¥2.4T - financial press
- GLD: SPDR Gold Trust ETF daily holdings fall 2.1 tonnes to 816.8 tonnes (lowest since Jan 2009)
- (US) API PETROLEUM INVENTORIES: CRUDE: -2.5M v -2.5Me (3rd straight draw)

- Dollar majors largely rangebound ahead of the Fed decision - EUR/USD in 15pip range around 1.3770, USD/CHF in 10pip range below 0.8850 after sharp swissie gains overnight, AUD/USD and NZD/USD reversing early session gains to trade below $0.89 and $0.8250, down 30 and 40 pips from the highs respectively. USD/JPY is up 40pips from the lows around ¥103 handle. USD/INR fell toward 61.70 after a surprise rate hold from RBI.

***Speakers/Political/In the Papers***
- (CN) China Defence Ministry: Confirms near miss with US ship in South China Sea on Dec 5th; Says incident was handled appropriately
- (CN) China MOFCOM: sees 2013 retail sales above 13% y/y; Optimistic on Q1 2014 consumption
- (CN) Other nations won't tolerate Japan as military power - People's Daily
- (CN) Chongqing said to achieve progress in applying free trade zone trial; Application of FTZ enters approval stage by NDRC - Chinese press
- (JP) According to a Nikkei survey, expectations for further easing from the BOJ has reached near full consensus - update
- (JP) BOJ offers to buy ¥400B in 5-10yr JGB and ¥200B in JGB with maturity over 10-yr
- (AU) RBA Gov Stevens: Will intervene in AUD if appropriate, AUD remains uncomfortably high; have not been doing anything unusual in fx markets recently; Inflation consistent with target
- (AU) RBA's Kent: Australia Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) growth forecasts don't differ much from RBA forecasts in Nov
- (AU) PIMCO's Bowe: Real business investment ex-mining in Australia is near zero; expect sub-trend growth in 2014
- (KR) South Korea Fin Min Hyun: It is time to normalize expansionary policy - financial press
- (KR) South Korea Dep Fin Min Eun: South Korea may convene meeting tomorrow on FOMC decision; Closely monitoring financial market ahead of FOMC

- (EU) EU negotiators said to have reached agreement on deposit guarantees - financial press
- (US) WSJ's Hilsenrath: 60% chance of a taper as forecasted by PIMCO is in the right ballpark; Likely to do something tomorrow, economy is in a better place than in Sept - CNBC

***Equities***
Market Snapshot (as of 04:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 +1.4%, S&P/ASX -0.1%, Kospi +0.5%, Shanghai Composite flat, Hang Seng +0.6%, Mar S&P500 +0.2% at 1,776, Feb gold +0.2% at $1,233, Jan crude oil -0.2% at $97.41/brl

US markets:
- KRFT: Board authorized $3B stock repurchase program (9.6% of market cap)
- HEI: Reports Q4 $0.44 v $0.41e, R$287.4M v $273Me; +5.7% afterhours
- IMAX: China's Wanda exercises option for 80 IMAX screens in China; To have 120 IMAX screens in China by 2022 - financial press; +0.1% afterhours
- C: DOJ reportedly to file civil fraud charges against Citigroup and Merrill Lynch over sale of flawed mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis in 2008; +0.1% afterhours
- STLD: Guides Q4 EPS $0.21-0.25 v $0.26e; -0.1% afterhours
- PAY: Reports Q4 $0.27 v $0.26e, R$432M v $421Me; -4.0% afterhours
- JBL: Reports Q1 $0.51 v $0.54e, R$4.61B v $4.61Be; Divest Aftermarket Services for $725M; Board announces $200M share buyback (5% of market cap); -13.9% afterhours
- ONTX: Announces disappointing phase III results of interim analysis of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Study; to discontinue study; -20.0% afterhours

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer discretionary: Beijing Jingxi Tourism Development 000802.CN +10.0% (to acquire film business); Yunnan Green-Land Biological Technology 002200.CN +2.8% (awarded contract); Bega Cheese BGA.AU +2.8% (to close takeover offer for Warrnambool)
- Industrials: Mesnac 002073.CN +1.2% (awarded order); Honda Motor 7267.JP +2.4% (Jet Engine receives certification); Elders ELD.AU +4.8% (prelim findings from investigator)
- Materials: Jiangsu Zhongtai Bridge Steel Structure 002659.CN +0.8% (awarded contract)
- Financials: Chongqing Yukaifa 000514.CN +1.5%, Chongqing Gangjiu 600279.CN +2.4% (Chongqing to achieve progress in FTZ trial)
- Technology: Shenzhen Changfang Light Emitting Diode Lighting 300301.CN +10.0%, Guangzhou Hongli Opto-Electronic 300219.CN +6.9%, Foshan Electrical and Lighting 000541.CN +2.7% (US to phase-out incandescent bulbs); Guangzhou Haige Communications Group 002465.CN +3.3% (acquires communication tech firm); Shenzhen MTC 002429.CN +1.6% (launches cloud TV); Nintendo 7974.JP +2.2% (testing tablets, smartphones)


***Economic Data***
- (CN) CHINA NOV CONFERENCE BOARD LEADING ECONOMIC INDEX M/M: 1.4% (4-month high) V 0.7% PRIOR
- (CN) CHINA NOV ACTUAL FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FD) Y/Y: 2.4% V 1.1%E; YTD Y/Y: 5.5% (5-month low) V 5.8% PRIOR
- (CN) CHINA NOV NEW HOME PRICES M/M: PRICES RISE IN 66 OF 70 CITIES V 65 PRIOR; Y/Y: PRICES RISE IN 69 OF 70 CITIES V 69 PRIOR
- (JP) JAPAN NOV MERCHANDISE TRADE BALANCE: -¥1.29T V -¥1.35TE; ADJUSTED TRADE BALANCE: -¥1.35T V -¥1.20TE (multi-year high deficit)
- (AU) AUSTRALIA NOV WESTPAC LEADING INDEX M/M: -0.1% V +0.1% PRIOR
- (AU) AUSTRALIA NOV SKILLED VACANCIES M/M: 0.4% V 0.5% PRIOR
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND DEC ANZ BUSINESS CONFIDENCE: 64.1 V 60.5 PRIOR (multi-year high); ANZ ACTIVITY OUTLOOK:53.5 V 47.1 PRIOR
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND Q3 CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE (NZ$): -4.78B V -4.60BE (biggest deficit in 5 years); CURRENT ACCOUNT GDP RATIO YTD: -4.1% V -4.1%E