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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (March 12, 2014)

March 12, 2014, Wednesday, 05:44 GMT | 01:44 EST | 10:14 IST | 12:44 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News


***Highlights/Observations/Insights***
Japan
- Nikkei225 is leading regional indices lower, weighed down by firmer JPY. Analysts see neutral comments from BOJ Gov Kuroda suggesting the central bank may be on hold for longer than expected in terms of adding to monetary stimulus. Before the decision, opinion was split that BOJ might wait until the semiannual release of its projections in April to announce new measures, however that opinion now appears to be shifting to July to allow the central bank some time to assess the impact of higher sales tax. Abe's influential econ adviser Hamada expressed some further concern, noting the downward Q4 GDP revision should serve as a "warning signal." USD/JPY fell as low as 102.80 before regaining the 103 handle.
- Over 60% of Japan's nuclear reactors reported to have no plans to request a restart, suggesting Japan risks continued trade/current account deficits. Separately, Kyushu Electric was reported to be the first utility to be granted permission for "final checks" ahead of resuming nuclear power generation, but that may still require approval from local bodies. Under the best scenario, Kyushu will still be unable to restart a nuclear plant by the time summer starts.

China
- Bearish sentiment became more pronounced once Shanghai copper opened limit down over 5%. Renewed chatter about corporate defaults in China and the intricate link between overextended loans and (according to an IG analyst) 60-80% of copper imports of the past 3 years used as collateral permeate China-focused market fears. Note that Comex copper fell below $3/lb in the US session after initial rumors that Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric Co may be the next in line to default after halting trade overnight.
- Separately, former PBoC adviser Li Daokui speculated China may raise deposit-rate cap in 2014.

Australia
- After disappointing NAB business confidence overnight, today's release of Westpac consumer confidence painted a similarly gloomy picture, falling for the 4th consecutive month while also piercing the 100 level on the index. Westpac economist said the initial Dec-Jan decline was "mainly the unwinding of the election-related sentiment boost (but) recent falls have had a very clear theme centering on a sharp loss of confidence in the economic outlook and escalating job-loss fears". AUD/USD hit 1-week lows below $0.8950 in the wake of the data.
- Australia's seemingly resilient property sector was also soft with the release of flat home loans growth in Jan, even though NAB economists said the strong upward trend over the past year given low interest rate environment will lead to a bounce in the coming months. Fiscally, former Australia Treasurer Henry warned the nation "faces a day of reckoning amid looming budget crisis... Abbott government urgently needs a tax and welfare reform package."

Russia/Ukraine
- With Crimea heading for referendum on whether to join Russia this Sunday and Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk set to defiantly testify at the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, Ukraine's acting Pres Turchynov appeared to be more accepting of being unable to prevent a secession. With the majority (as high as 70%+ according to Russian press) expected to vote in favor of joining Russia, Turchynov said Ukraine will not bring in troops to contest the legitimacy of new authorities, worried that it would escalate tensions and detract from defense of the eastern part of Ukraine against the possibility of Russian aggression. Separately, US House of Reps voted in overwhelming favor of a non-binding resolution seeking sanctions against Russia.

***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- (AU) Australia MoF (AOFM) sells A$7B (largest amount on record) in 4.25% Bonds due 2026; Avg yield: 4.375%
- USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.1343 v 6.1327 prior setting (weakest Yuan setting since Dec 3rd)
- (US) API PETROLEUM INVENTORIES: CRUDE: +2.63M (3rd straight build and largest build since Jan 28th) v +2Me; GASOLINE: -2.15M v -1.5Me
- (CN) Shanghai Copper opens at limit down by 5.0%, at CNY43.8K/t; Iron-ore futures down 2.2% in China's Dalian Commodity Exchange

***Equities***
US markets:
- PAY: Reports Q1 $0.31 v $0.27e, R$436M v $430Me; +12.1% afterhours
- MSFT: Board expands to include Mason Morfit; Declares quarterly dividend of $0.28/shr (unchanged), implies yield of 2.9%; -0.2% afterhours
- MW: Reports Q4 -$0.38 v -$0.11e, R$560.6M v $620Me; -1.2% afterhours
- CZR: Reports Q4 -$12.83 (incl charges) v -$1.45e, R$2.08B v $2.15Be; -2.3% afterhours

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: ChinaVision Media Group 1060.HK +235.9% (Alibaba subscribes shares); Belle International Holdings 1880.HK -9.5% (Q1 sales results); Qantas Airways QAN.AU -0.9% (to delay mass redundancies)
- Financials: China CITIC Bank 998.HK +2.7% (launches online credit card with Tencent); Greentown China 3900.HK -0.2% (Feb sales results); Evergrande Real Estate Group 3333.HK +0.3% (positive profit alert)
- Materials: Hengyi Petrochemical 000703.CN -7.3% (FY13 results)
- Industrials: Fuji Heavy Industries 7270.JP -1.3% (speculation on Capex)
- Technology: Sunny Optical Technology Group 2382.HK +3.5% (FY13 results); GoerTek Inc 002241.CN +5.0% (FY13 results)
- Healthcare: China Resources Double Crane Pharmaceutical 600062.CN +4.2% (FY13 results)
- Utilities: Kyushu Electric Power 9508.JP -0.5% (planned utility inspections)


***Economic Data***
- (JP) JAPAN FEB DOMESTIC CGPI M/M: -0.2% (first decline in 4 months) V +0.2%E; Y/Y: 1.8% (8-month low) V 2.1%E
- (JP) JAPAN Q1 BSI LARGE ALL INDUSTRY Q/Q: 12.7 V 8.3 PRIOR; BSI LARGE MANUFACTURING Q/Q: 12.5 V 9.7 PRIOR (4th quarter of increase)
- (JP) Japan Jan Conference Board Leading Economic Index: 100.4; m/m: -0.7% v -0.2% prior
- (JP) JAPAN JAN TERTIARY INDUSTRY INDEX: 0.9% V 0.6%E (8-month high)
- (AU) AUSTRALIA MAR WESTPAC CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX: 99.5 V 100.2 PRIOR; M/M: -0.7% V -3.0% PRIOR (4th consecutive decline)
- (AU) AUSTRALIA JAN HOME LOANS M/M: 0.0% V 0.5%E; INVESTMENT LENDING: -3.3% V 2.9% PRIOR; OWNER-OCCUPIER LOAN VALUE: 1.5% V -1.5% PRIOR
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 3.9% V 3.2%E (3-year high)
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB EXPORT PRICE INDEX M/M: 0.7% V 0.1% PRIOR; Y/Y: -3.6% V -1.9% PRIOR; IMPORT PRICE INDEX M/M: 0.8% V -0.3% PRIOR; Y/Y: -4.8% V -3.0% PRIOR
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB BANK LENDING TO HOUSEHOLD (KRW): 479.7T V 477.8T PRIOR
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA JAN MONEY SUPPLY L M/M: 1.3% V 0.2% PRIOR; M2 M/M: 0.4% V 0.4% PRIOR

Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 -2.2%, S&P/ASX -0.9%, Kospi -1.3%, Shanghai Composite -0.3%, Hang Seng -1.5%, Mar S&P500 -0.1% at 1,863, Apr gold +0.8% at $1,357, Apr crude oil -0.5% at $99.55/brl