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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (March 05, 2014)

March 5, 2014, Wednesday, 05:41 GMT | 01:41 EST | 10:11 IST | 12:41 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- Russia-Ukraine diplomacy appears to be running its course with no meaningful developments from either side to suggest the standoff is any more or less tense. Obama and Merkel discussed Ukraine for about an hour in a phone conference, agreeing that Russia appears to have signaled a willingness to de-escalate the conflict and also contemplating the presence of international observers on the ground.
- China National People's Congress unveiled its 2014 targets, most notably maintaining the 7.5% GDP objective - in line with 2013 target when the economy grew 7.7%. China is also targeting national budget spending to rise 9.5% to CNY15.3T, trade growth 7.5%, retail sales to rise 14.5%, M2 money supply 13%, and maintaining CPI goal below 3.5%. Furthermore, state council said to maintain proactive fiscal and prudent monetary policy, extend yuan floating rate, expand VAT trial, and further reform the pension system. Despite the seemingly ambitious reform agenda, some analysts are skeptical that policymakers are serious about meaningful change given the apparent slowdown in the economy not reflected by the growth target.
- Australia GDP maintains a string of strong data from down under, support the neutral bias reiterated by the RBA overnight. Annualized Q4 GDP bounced off the 2-year low in Q3 with a rise of 2.8% - the fastest pace in a year - while q/q rose at a near two-year high of 0.8%. Consumption and trade components turned in a higher growth pace, while capital formation lagged.

***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
- (US) API PETROLEUM INVENTORIES: CRUDE: +1.2M (2nd straight build) v +1Me; GASOLINE: -1.2M v -1Me; DISTILLATE: -270K v -1Me
- (NZ) Fonterra Global Dairy Trade auction: Dairy Trade price index -4.0% (biggest decline since June) from prior auction; Second straight decline update)
- USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.1257 v 6.1236 prior setting (weakest Yuan setting since Dec 5th)

- USD majors are contained in the Asia session despite the broad-based risk rally in US hours as investors' focus turns away from geopolitical and toward high-profile economic events, including the ECB decision on Thursday and the non-farm payrolls release on Friday. EUR/USD and USD/JPY are trading in 20-pip ranges above $1.3725 and ¥102.10 respectively, while yen crosses EUR/JPY and GBP/JPY are consolidating overnight gains within 30pip ranges above ¥140.20 and ¥170.20. AUD is once again the most volatile currency of the session, bouncing just after the announcement of China unchanged GDP forecasts and then again after higher than expected Australia Q4 GDP growth to a session high around $0.90 handle, where it was met with selling pressure. AUD/JPY rose to a 1-week high of ¥91.90, up about 60pips from the lows.

***Speakers/Political/In the Papers***
- (CN) CHINA FINANCE MINISTRY: SETS 2014 GDP TARGET AT 7.5% (UNCHANGED FROM 2013); CPI AT 3.5% (UNCHANGED FROM 2013); Growth target is an 'elastic target'
- (CN) Former PBOC advisor Li Daokui: Property tax should not be the only tool to control China home prices; Disagrees with views that China will have crisis in housing market - financial press
- (CN) PBoC's Dep Gov Pan: To allow market to play role in China currency rate; critical for more flexible exchange rate to boost reform
- (CN) Deutsche Bank China chief economist Ma Jun, widely expected to be named next PBoC chief economist, sees coal and traditional automakers susceptible to China environmental reform - Nikkei
- (HK) According to Land Registry data, Hong Kong Feb property transactions 3.99K, -30% m/m (lowest in 5 years) - financial press
- (JP) BOJ Gov Kuroda: Trend of currency falling in countries that eased; currencies do not always fall on easing - addressing parliament
- (JP) Former-BOJ Dep Gov Muto: Risk economic downturn from sales take hike extremely small - financial press
- (JP) Japan Chief Cabinet Sec Suga: Transparency of China defense is an international concern; To take appropriate response on issue of economic sanctions against Russia
- (JP) Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to decide on nuclear check priority this month - Japanese press
- (AU) ANZ economist: Seeing some early signs Australia economy is recovering - SMH
- (AU) Fitch: Q4 Australian Dinkum RMBS Index 30 days arrears at 1.21% (lowest year-end levels since 2009)
- (NZ) ANZ economist: Moderation in dairy prices may be in the cards for FY14/15 as long as supply continues to build - NZ press
- (KR) According to Bank of Korea (BOK), South Korea 2013 household savings rate rose just 6.6% y/y, slowest growth in 6 years - Korean press
- (KR) South Korea Fin Min Hyun: South Korea to ease rules for M&A market participants
- (US) Fed's Lacker (hawkish, non-voter): Would not oppose a more rapid pace of tapering; In favor of first rate hike in early 2015
- (US) Moody's Downgrades city of Chicago to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3B of GOs and sales tax debt; Outlook Negative
- (UR) US Pres Obama said to have spoken with German Chancellor Merkel regarding Ukraine; Obama administration believes Putin signaled pause in escalation - financial press
- (RU) China Foreign Ministry: China Pres Xi Jinping held talks with Russia Pres Putin; Believes Russia is able to push for a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis in coordination with other parties - financial press

Market Snapshot (as of 04:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 +1.5%, S&P/ASX +0.7%, Kospi +0.9%, Shanghai Composite -0.2%, Hang Seng +0.2%, Mar S&P500 -0.1% at 1,869, Apr gold flat at $1,337, Apr crude oil +0.1% at $103.46/brl

US markets:
- SWHC: Reports Q3 $0.35 v $0.29e, R$145.9M v $142Me; +8.3% afterhours
- AVAV: Reports Q3 $0.49 v $0.19e, R$69.2M v $64.3Me; +6.1% afterhours
- BOBE: Reports Q3 $0.30 v $0.53e, R$340M v $354Me; Authorizes $100M share repurchase (7.3% of market cap); -5.3% afterhours
- XOMA: Provides update, does not intend to launch pivotal development for the broad EOA indication following Phase 2 results; -22.1% afterhours

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: EVA Airways 2618.TW +1.0% (sets FY14 Rev target); China Nuclear Industry 23 International Corp 611.HK -3.5% (profit warning); Nan Hai Co Ltd 680.HK +9.8% (positive profit alert)
- Financials: Sumitomo Realty 8830.JP +3.9% (speculation on FY13/14 results)
- Energy: Mie Holdings 1555.HK -4.8% (profit warning)
- Industrials: Hangzhou Sunrise Technology 300360.CN -6.6% (FY13 results); Fuji Heavy Industries 7270.JP -1.5% (cuts FY14 guidance); Zhejiang East Crystl Electronic 002199.CN +6.0%, Zhejiang Crystal-Optech +3.3%, Advanced Technology & Materials 000969.CN +2.2% (sapphire related companies rally in US)
- Technology: S.A.S. Dragon Holdings 1184.HK +5.3% (positive profit alert)

***Economic Data***
- (CN) CHINA FEB HSBC/MARKIT SERVICES PMI: 51.0 V 50.7 PRIOR (25th straight month of expansion)
- (AU) AUSTRALIA Q4 GDP Q/Q: 0.8% V 0.7%E (7th quarter high); Y/Y: 2.8% (1-year high) V 2.5%E
- (AU) AUSTRALIA FEB AIG PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES INDEX: 55.2 V 49.3 PRIOR (first expansion in 11 months, 6-year high)
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND Q4 VALUE OF ALL BUILDINGS Q/Q: -1.0% V +3.1%E (biggest decline since Q2 of 2011)
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB FOREIGN RESERVES: $351.8B v $348.4B PRIOR (record high for 8th month)
- (PH) PHILIPPINES FEB CPI M/M: 0.1% V 0.3%E; Y/Y: 4.1% V 4.3%E; CORE CPI Y/Y: 3.0% V 3.1%E
- (TW) TAIWAN FEB CPI Y/Y: -0.1% V 0.2%E; WPI Y/Y: -0.5% V -0.4%E
- (UK) UK BRC SHOP PRICE INDEX Y/Y: -1.4% V -1.1%E (record decline)