Asian stocks mixed after US Fed releases minutes and Big Tech retreats
Asian equities were mixed on Wednesday morning as a US stock rally stalled and technology shares slipped.
China’s CSI 300 index fell 0.5 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.2 per cent. Japan’s Topix rose 0.6 per cent.
US equities retreated on Tuesday as traders digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent interest rate meeting. A number of Big Tech stocks eased ahead of earnings from chipmaker Nvidia.
The S&P 500 closed down 0.2 per cent and the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6 per cent.
Israel and Hamas agree deal to release 50 hostages
Israel and Hamas have agreed a deal for the staggered release of 50 civilians held hostage in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and a four-day halt to hostilities.
The pause, which will mark the most prolonged lull in the conflict since the Palestinian militant group’s deadly October 7 attack on Israel, is likely to be accompanied by an influx of humanitarian aid — including some fuel — into Gaza.
The hostages in the coastal enclave will be released in small batches, as Israel and Hamas test the durability of the deal.
Read more about the Israel-Hamas conflict here.
What to watch in Asia today
Events: The Nagoya High Court is scheduled to hand down ruling on a lawsuit for damages filed by evacuees against Japan’s government and Tokyo Electric Power over the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of Komeito, junior partner in Japan’s Liberal Democratic party-led governing coalition, visits Beijing. Uzbekistan’s foreign minister Bakhtiyor Saidov concludes a four-day trip to China. The UK’s Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, wraps up a two-day visit to Sydney.
Central banks: Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michele Bullock speaks at the Australian Business Economists annual dinner in Sydney. She plans to address the last monetary policy decision as well as the recent review of its policies.
Economic indicators: Singapore announces gross domestic product growth figures.
Corporate events: Toshiba holds an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting. Hong Kong-based fashion group Hypebeast presents second-quarter results.
Tiger Global private equity chief Scott Shleifer to step down
Scott Shleifer, the head of Tiger Global’s $30bn-plus private equity business, will step down from his role at the hedge fund at the end of the year.
The move will be a monumental change for Tiger Global. Shleifer was one of the firm’s first hires and spotted enormous opportunities from ascendant technology companies, particularly in China.
Shleifer will remain as a senior adviser to the firm, while his role will be replaced with an investment committee chaired by founder Chase Coleman and consisting of Shleifer and partners Evan Feinberg, Eric Lane and Griffin Schroeder.
Read more here.
Nvidia revenue outlook tops estimates despite China AI chip sales rule
Nvidia predicted its revenue in the current quarter will beat market expectations, as the company said strong growth in most regions would help offset expectations that sales to China would “decline significantly” because of recently tightened AI chip rules.
Overall, the company forecast revenues of $20bn in its current quarter, plus or minus 2 per cent, easily topping analysts’ estimates for about $17.9bn.
Nvidia’s revenue in the three months to October, tripled from a year ago to $18.1bn, a quarterly record and surpassing Wall Street forecasts.
The chip designer on Tuesday reported revenues of $18.12bn for the quarter running to the end of October, up 206 per cent year on year.
Read more about Nvidia here.
US stocks close lower after Fed issues interest rate meeting minutes
US equities slipped on Tuesday, as investors took in their stride the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent interest rate meeting and several Big Tech stocks eased ahead of earnings from chipmaker Nvidia.
The minutes showed policymakers were in no rush to raise borrowing costs again, though they reiterated their commitment to tightening monetary policy further should it be warranted by new economic data.
Wall Street was relatively unmoved by the minutes, leaving the S&P 500 down 0.2 per cent at the closing bell and the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite down 0.6 per cent.
Nvidia finished 0.9 per cent lower ahead of its latest quarterly results, and was joined in negative territory by Amazon, Microsoft and Meta.
Netanyahu says Israel will continue war as vote on hostage deal looms
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed into a crucial government meeting on freeing civilian hostages in Gaza vowing to continue the war until the country achieves all of its “objectives”.
Israel’s security and war cabinets will convene for an unscheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, followed by a gathering of the entire government that would be required to vote on any potential release of Palestinian prisoners.
The potential deal is expected to free dozens of the civilian hostages held in Gaza in return for a pause in hostilities and the release of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.
Read more about the hostages drama here.
FDIC management forms special committee to investigate allegations
The management of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which has come under fire in the past week following a report of widespread sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the agency, on Tuesday formed a special committee of its board of directors to take over an investigation into the allegations.
The move ends a stand-off between the banking regulator’s Democratic leadership and its two Republican board members, who last week called for FDIC chair Martin Gruenberg to recuse himself from the inquiry.
Jonathan McKernan, one of the two Republican FDIC board members, will co-chair the committee, along with Michael Hsu, who is the President Biden-appointed acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.