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Reports Asia

Asian stock market, economy and companies update (March 19, 2014)

March 19, 2014, Wednesday, 05:56 GMT | 01:56 EST | 10:26 IST | 12:56 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- Asian indices are mixed despite another session of gains in the US, where conference from Pres Putin announcing no intention to roll into east Ukraine continued to lift the fog of war with Russia. Instead, the focus is shifting to the Fed decision tomorrow that will also mark the first opportunity for the new Fed Chair Yellen to potentially alter FOMC's forward guidance and perhaps soften its message due to some of the recent weak data.
- Japan announced another trade deficit which was wider than expected but still smaller than the past 3 months on adjusted basis. Both exports and imports were up in high-single digits - a 12th and 16th consecutive rise respectively. Trade components also showed some improvements, with double digit y/y exports increase to Asia, China, and Europe as well as a 6.4% drop in the bill for crude oil imports. BOJ board member Kiuchi reiterated his dissent, noting exports will likely continue to lack momentum for some time while suggesting the 2% inflation target of 2-years may be overambitious. Instead, Kiuchi believes the 2% target is better pursued as a longer-term objective, warning that any additional effort to expand QE could have more side-effects than benefits. Separately a press survey in Japan found 7 of 16 analysts expecting BOJ to ease in July and 3 analysts to ease as early as April - only 2 do not expect more easing. USD/JPY traded in a 20pip range going into the Fed meeting below the ¥101.50 level.

- Chinese yuan was once again set in the CNY6.13, before onshore markets pushed the level to mid-6.19. This marks the first time that Yuan traded by more than 1% relative to its fix since the PBoC widened the tradable band to 2% from 1% this weekend. Among notable local press reports, China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) researcher said China should now look to ease restrictions for home buyers to help stabilize expectations for prices in 2014.

- Aussie dollar is underperforming after an overnight rally following those more hawkish than expected RBA policy meeting minutes overnight. AUD/USD hit a 3-month high around $0.9135 early in the day before falling about 30pips, and is now faced with technical resistance from a downtrend going all the way back to April of last year. Today's survey of analysts seemingly reflects the latest neutral/upbeat sentiment from the RBA, with 12 out of 32 analysts said to expect the central bank to start raising rates this year and only 6 expecting another cut. Skilled vacancies data from Australia offered a slightly more ominous anecdotal picture in the labor sector, with resource-heavy Western Australia recording the biggest regional fall in internet ads in February, down 5.8% m/m. Separately, a Fitch report stated that while stockpiling will not suspend China demand for Australia ore and while demand for commodities will keep rising in absolute terms, the extent of each year's incremental demand is likely to decline progressively.

- Nominee for Bank of Korea governor Lee addressed lawmakers in confirmation hearings, noting the BOK will maintain its 2.5-3.5% mid-term inflation target for now, as any change would possibly hurt the BOK credibility. Lee also said falling growth potential is the biggest challenge for South Korea, while also diminishing the potential impact on the economy from the Fed taper. Recall last week, the BOK reiterated that negative output gap in South Korea economy will remain going forwards, but will gradually narrow.

- Canadian dollar fell to near its 1-week lows around C$1.1150 in early Asia session after reports of Canada Finance Minister Flaherty announcing his resignation to return to the private sector. Later in the day, local press reported Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver would replace Flaherty, with the announcement expected as early as Wednesday.

***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies***
- (CN) China MOF sells CNY28B in 10-yr bonds; avg yield 4.42%
- (JP) BOJ offers to buy ¥170B in JGB with maturity over 10-yr and ¥20B in inflation-linked bonds
- (AU) Australia MoF (AOFM) sells A$700M in 2024 Bonds, avg yield: 4.0891%, bid-to-cover: 3.88x
- (NZ) Fonterra Global Dairy Trade auction: Dairy Trade price index -5.2% (biggest decline since June) from prior auction; Third straight decline

US markets:
- PSUN: Reports Q4 -$0.17 v -$0.18e, R$219M v $214Me; +7.3% afterhours
- CWH: Activist investors win proxy vote to throw out entire board; Corvex and Related plan to make Sam Zell Chairman - press; +4.9% afterhours
- P: Said to have raised price of ad-free service to $4.99/mo from $3.99/mo for new customers effective in May - financial press; +1.1% afterhours
- STLD: Guides Q1 $0.13-0.17 v $0.29e; raises quarterly dividend by 4.5% to $0.115/shr from $0.11/shr; flat afterhours
- ADBE: Reports Q1 $0.30 v $0.25e, R$1.00B v $971Me; +0.2% afterhours
- ORCL: Reports Q3 $0.68 v $0.70e, R$9.31B v $9.36Be; Guides Q4 Non-GAAP EPS $0.92-0.99 v $0.95e (constant currency), Non-GAAP Rev +3-7% y/y v +5%e (implies R$11.3-11.7B v $11.5Be); -3.5% afterhours
- NUS: Temporarily halts some promotional meetings in China; to extend refund, return policy; expects regulatory fines to be levied - 10K filing; -4.8% afterhours

Notable movers by sector:
- Consumer Discretionary: David Jones Ltd DJS.AU flat (H1 results); Hainan Airlines 600221.CN -1.6% (FY13 results); Kirin Holdings 2503.JP +1.2% (to expand sales)
- Materials: Aluminum Corporation of China Limited 2600.HK +3.5% (FY13 results); Discovery Metals DML.AU +23.1% (enters JV)
- Industrials: Shanghai Construction 600170.CN +1.0% (FY13 results); Tsugami Corp 6101.JP +7.2% (speculation of FY14/15 results)
- Technology: Renren Inc RENN -8.0% (Q4 results); Acer 2353.TW -2.5% (employees suspected of insider trading)
- Utilities: Huaneng Power International 902.HK +1.7% (FY13 results)

***Economic Data***
- (JP) JAPAN FEB MERCHANDISE TRADE BALANCE: -¥800.3B V -¥600.0BE; ADJUSTED TRADE BALANCE: -¥1.13T (smallest deficit in four months) V -¥907.0BE
- (AU) AUSTRALIA FEB SKILLED VACANCIES M/M: 0.2% V 1.0% PRIOR; Internet skilled vacancies -0.2% m/m
- (NZ) NEW ZEALAND Q4 CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE (NZ$): -1.43B V -1.53BE; CURRENT ACCOUNT GDP RATIO YTD: -3.4% (narrowest since Q1 2012) V -3.4%e
- (KR) SOUTH KOREA FEB PPI Y/Y: -0.9% V -0.3% PRIOR (17th consecutive decline)
- (US) API PETROLEUM INVENTORIES: CRUDE: +5.9M (4th straight build and largest build since Nov 26th) v +2.5Me

Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT):
- Nikkei225 -0.4%, S&P/ASX +0.1%, Kospi -0.1%, Shanghai Composite -1.1%, Hang Seng -0.1%, Jun S&P500 -0.1% at 1,861, Apr gold -0.1% at $1,358, Apr crude oil -0.2% at $99.51/brl