1. Asia Shares Advance as Nikkei Nears 1989 Peak: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Japanese stocks led broader gains in Asia, after the S&P 500 Index hit another record Thursday as traders looked past mixed US economic data. Benchmarks advanced across the region, pushing a gauge of Asian equities higher for a second day. Contracts for US shares also rose as the S&P 500 climbed to around 5,030 led by banks and energy companies.

  2. Oil Holds Large Gain as Equity Market Surge Eclipses IEA Warning

    (Bloomberg) — Oil held a large advance as a risk-on mood in wider markets and signs OPEC+ members are complying with supply cuts overshadowed a gloomy demand outlook from the IEA. Brent crude traded just below $83 a barrel after rising by 1.5% on Thursday, while West Texas Intermediate was near $78, near its highest close since mid-November. Oil’s gains came as US equities closed at another record and the dollar eased, making commodities more attractive for overseas buyers.

  3. Fed’s Bostic Says May Take ‘Some Time’ to Hit Rate-Cut Threshold

    (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said there’s no rush to cut interest rates with the US labour market and economy still strong, and cautioned it’s not yet clear that inflation is heading sustainably to the central bank’s 2% target. “The evidence from data, our surveys, and our outreach says that victory is not clearly in hand and leaves me not yet comfortable that inflation is inexorably declining to our 2% objective,” Bostic said in a speech Thursday in New York.

  4. Israel, Hezbollah Strikes Intensify as Fears Grow of New Front

    (Bloomberg) — Hezbollah in Lebanon fired a barrage of rockets at Israel in retaliation for the killing a commander in one of the group’s elite units, a further escalation of this week’s cross-border fire that’s raising alarm of a wider war. A senior member of the Iran-backed group’s elite Radwan Force was killed Wednesday along with two others in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, the Israeli army said Thursday.

  5. ‘I’m Not on Trial’: Trump Election Case Takes Dramatic Turn

    (Bloomberg) — “I’m not on trial,” Fani Willis declared. “These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020.” Those words, stated pointedly from the witness stand, encapsulated the remarkable scene that unfolded Thursday in the criminal case against Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election in the Georgia criminal case.

  6. Feud Erupts at $14 Billion Credit Manager Over Lucrative Stake

    (Bloomberg) — A Wall Street distressed-debt maven has resurfaced to take on his one-time protege at $14 billion credit firm Kennedy Lewis Investment Management. John Brice, the former Kennedy Lewis chairman who left four years ago, is seeking a 15% stake in the company, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That could be worth at least $100 million, based on a conservative estimate of the valuation at which the firm has been pursuing a deal for a partial or complete sale.

  7. BNP-Backed Quant Nets 25% on Time-Tested Diversification Bets

    (Bloomberg) — After a middling year for Wall Street managers bundling up alternative quant strategies, a little-known $380 million mutual fund is on an industry-beating spree by sticking to a handful of tried-and-tested investments. The Catalyst Systematic Alpha Fund combines cross-asset investing styles that exploit established market patterns — or, in quant speak, risk premia.

  8. Reliance Steel & Aluminium gains as much as 11%, the most intraday since March 2020, after its fourth-quarter EPS and first-quarter guidance beat the average analyst estimate.

    ANALYST COMMENTARY: BMO Capital Markets analyst Katja Jancic (outperform, PT $295): Says the company had a strong fourth-quarter and solid outlook. “Overall, versus our estimate the beat can be attributed to higher gross profit margin and also aided by lower-than-estimated tax rate”. Notes that share repurchases and dividends increased in the fourth quarter KeyBanc analyst Philip Gibbs (overweight, PT $300): Says that the company’s fourth-quarter EPS solidly beat estimates and results were helped by interest income on cash reserves. “RS’s value-added sales as a percentage of orders processed is approaching 51%, nicely differentiating itself from the broader metals distribution and processing market”. Notes that the company is typically conservative in its guidance.

  9. Door Dash Inc. beat analysts’ estimates for delivery orders in the fourth quarter, as an expansion into new categories is luring a record number of monthly users who order more frequently.

    Total orders increased 23% to 574 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, the company said in a statement Thursday, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 561.8 million. The gross value of those orders — a key metric for online delivery firms — jumped 22% to $17.6 billion, also beating Wall Street’s estimate. But that wasn’t enough to impress Wall Street after the shares have gained 28% this year. The stock tumbled as much as 12% in extended trading after closing at $126.27, nearly a two-year high. Given the rally in the shares, “these results were likely not good enough,” analysts at Evercore ISI wrote in a note to investors after the results.

  10. Japan’s Nikkei closes in on all-time high; Hong Kong leads gains in Asia.
    Japan’s Nikkei 225 hit a fresh 34-year high Friday and was on course to reach all-time record levels. At its intraday high of 38,863.69, it was less than 100 points from scaling its record peak. The index was last up 1.12%, extending gains a day after the country lost its spot as the third-largest global economy to Germany and entered into a technical recession. The economic slowdown in the country has raised hopes Japan may stick with its ultra-loose monetary policy for longer, even as the country’s finance minister has reportedly raised concerns on yen’s weakness.

  11. Nvidia holdings disclosure pumps up shares of small AI companies.

    A filing by Nvidia shows the chipmaker has stakes in a handful of public companies. Shares of most of those companies soared even though Nvidia’s involvement was already known. While Nvidia has long been involved with venture investing, its more recent deals are likely to be much more significant given the boom in artificial intelligence. 12. Stellantis NV is preparing for a difficult year with higher global vehicle output weighing on prices and an unpredictable broader backdrop. The maker of Jeep and Ram vehicles will counter the drag with a number of new models and is banking on flexible options in response, Chief Financial Officer Natalie Knight said Thursday.
    “There’s a much more normalized supply environment, a much more normalized pricing environment than what we’ve seen in the past,” Knight said during a media call for the company’s full-year earnings. “We’re resilient for what we think is going to be a pretty turbulent year.”
    Shares rose as much as 1.8% in early Milan trading.

  12. Deere & Co. fell the most in nearly three months after trimming its annual profit outlook as tumbling crop prices give farmers less money for equipment purchases.

    The world’s biggest farm-machinery producer is seen as a bellwether for the health of the agriculture industry, with demand for its tractors rising and falling with farmers’ fortunes. Machinery makers have been hit by declining agriculture income and grain prices, even as a growing world population and an increased focus on food security helps to provide long-term demand for equipment. Deere & Co. trimmed its profit outlook for this year as tumbling crop prices give farmers less money to use on equipment purchases. Abigail Doolittle reports. Deere on Thursday said net income for the fiscal year will be between $7.5 billion and $7.75 billion. That’s down from its initial outlook in November for between $7.75 billion and $8.25 billion, and compares with estimates compiled by Bloomberg of $7.75 billion. Deere shares fell as much as 5.5%, the most since Nov. 22, the last time it reported earnings. The stock is down more than 18% from a record closing high reached in July 2023.

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