1. Asian Stocks Rally, Dollar Weakens After US CPI: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Asian equities tracked gains on Wall Street as the latest US inflation data reinforced bets for Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts. Shares in Australia, Japan and South Korea climbed. Futures contracts for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also rose early Thursday after the two benchmarks gained more than 1% to touch fresh highs on Wednesday.

  2. Japan’s Economy Sputters as Dismal Run Extends to Three Quarters

    (Bloomberg) — Japan’s economy shrank in the first quarter as consumers and companies cut spending, extending a dismal performance that stretches back to last summer and complicates the picture for the central bank as it mulls the timing of its next interest rate hike. Gross domestic product contracted at an annualized pace of 2% in the three months through March.

  3. Oil Makes Headway on US Stockpile Decline and Wider Risk-On Mood

    (Bloomberg) — Oil rose for a second day, buoyed by shrinking US stockpiles and a wider risk-on mood triggered by signs of ebbing US inflation. Global benchmark Brent topped $83 a barrel after climbing 0.5% on Wednesday, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was above $79. US oil inventories fell by 2.5 million barrels last week for the first back-to-back drop.

  4. Putin Starts China Visit Seeking Xi’s Support for His New Term

    (Bloomberg) — Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing for his first visit to China of his new term, highlighting the importance of the relationship to Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine. Putin arrived in the Chinese capital early Thursday, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.

  5. US Efforts to Reshape Global Supply Chains Gather Pace in Asia

    (Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden’s sweeping tariff hikes on a range of Chinese imports are just the latest US moves in a years-long campaign that is rewiring Asian trade routes, figures in the past few days show. Taiwan’s booming exports to the US are just one example of the way great-power tensions have already reshaped supply chains and how China is getting left out.

  6. BOJ’s Feathers Won’t Be Ruffled by Freak GDP Dip: Economics

    (Bloomberg Economics) — OUR TAKE: Japan’s first-quarter GDP shrank more than the market expected due to one-off factors — and won’t dissuade the Bank of Japan from normalizing policy. One of the main drivers was a fall in industrial production after a major automaker was forced to idle output due to a safety scandal. The other was a pullback in service exports after a surge the prior quarter that came because of a spike.

  7. Yen Rebounds as Cooling US CPI Weighs on Dollar, Treasury Yields

    (Bloomberg) — The yen extended gains in Asian trading on Thursday after rallying 1% overnight as traders ramped up bets that the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy this year on signs US inflation pressures were easing. Japan’s currency strengthened beyond the 154 level for the first time since May 7, rising to as high as 153.6 per dollar.

  8. Leonard Green Eyes $1.5 Billion for First-Ever Secondaries Fund

    (Bloomberg) — Leonard Green & Partners is targeting $1.5 billion for its debut general partner-led secondaries fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The Los Angeles-based firm, led by managing partners John Danhakl and Jonathan Sokoloff, told investors at its annual general meeting earlier this month that it’s in discussions with potential anchor.

  9. Hedge Funds Pump Up Exposure to Nvidia, Cut AMD: 13F Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Hedge funds continued to lean into the biggest technology companies leading the way in artificial intelligence as the hype propelled the US stock market higher in the first quarter of the year. These institutional investors saw Nvidia Corp. exposure grow, with the AI darling having the biggest increase by market value for a single stock in the three months.

  10. Ingram Micro Ready to Move on Plan for $1 Billion-Plus IPO

    (Bloomberg) — Platinum Equity-backed technology company Ingram Micro Inc. is preparing to move ahead with plans for an initial public offering that could raise more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Ingram Micro is considering seeking to be valued at as much as $10 billion in an IPO.

  11. Market Chatter: Walt Disney to Cut Spending on Disney+ Marketing

    Walt Disney (DIS) will cut marketing expenses for Disney+ in order to achieve profits in that business line by the end of the fiscal year, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing Chief Executive Bob Iger. (Market Chatter news is derived from conversations with market professionals globally.

  12. Sony shares surged by 8.23% at the close, its most in more than 18 months, following its upbeat fourth quarter earnings.

    The company reported a net income of ¥189.01 billion, beating estimates of ¥153.21 billion. It reported net sales of ¥3.48 trillion, beating estimates of ¥2.91 trillion. Sony also plans to buy back up to 2.46% of its shares for as much as ¥250 billion.

  13. CPI report shows inflation easing in April, with consumer prices still rising 3.4% from a year ago
    The CPI report showed an increase of 0.3% from March, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Inflation eased slightly in April, providing some relief for consumers.

    On a 12-month basis, however, the CPI increased 3.4%, in line with expectations. Core inflation was at 3.6%, the lowest reading ex-food and energy since April 2021.

  14. Experian rose 8.1% after the credit and marketing services company introduced more optimistic guidance than some analysts predicted, with Liberum saying Experian remains one of the best companies listed in the UK.

    YEAR RESULTS: Revenue $7.10 billion, estimate $7.06 billion. Organic revenue +6%, estimate +5.52%. Operating profit $1.69 billion, estimate $1.71 billion. Pretax profit $1.55 billion, estimate $1.59 billion. Dividend per share 58.5c, estimate 58.2c. Adjusted EPS $1.455 vs. $1.351 y/y, estimate $1.45. 2025 YEAR FORECAST: Sees organic revenue +6% to +8%, estimate +7.38%. Liberum (buy): FY24 results are slightly ahead on organic growth and in line on Ebit said analyst Andrew Ripper, and the company introduced slightly better-than-expected guidance for FY25 for the first time, of 6-8% organic growth and 30-50bps rise in margin, which is likely to prompt small upgrades.

  15. Vodafone’s sale of Vodafone Spain to Zegona Communications received final approval from Spanish authorities, according to a statement.

    Sale is expected to complete at the end of May. Vodafone to receive €4.1 billion in cash and €0.9 billion in redeemable preference shares. Vodafone to start initial €500 million share buyback programme on May 15 as part of plans to return €2 billion over 12 months.

  16. Neste shares slumped 14.9% to the lowest level since 2018, after it posted a big downward revision of its renewable products sales margin guidance, which implies cuts to the Finnish refiner’s consensus and signals weaker market conditions, according to analysts.

    DETAILS: Neste sees 2024 average renewable products comparable sales margin $480 to $650/ton, saw $600 to $800/ton. Cites decrease in the diesel market price and US bio ticket and renewable credit prices during 2Q. The rest of the guidance remain unchanged. Citi’s Kate O’Sullivan (buy, lowers PT to €39 from €45) says revision of its 2024 renewable products sales margin guidance range is due to a disappointing 1Q margin and subsequent deterioration of market conditions. Expects consensus will revise down. Latest guidance re-set indicates the company has taken the approach to clear the decks ahead of 2Q results and expectations of extended market weakness.

  17. Dell Technologies shares rose 11.2% as Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the PC and server company to $152 from $128.

    The target matches the Street-high view, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Dell is “gaining momentum in enterprise infrastructure, including competitive AI server wins and inflecting storage strength,” writes analyst Erik Woodring, who adds that “over the course of the last 4 weeks, our customer, industry, and supply chain checks have pointed to an inflection in momentum”.

  18. Boeing faces possible criminal prosecution after the US Justice Department found the company violated a deferred-prosecution agreement tied to two fatal crashes half a decade ago, intensifying the crisis engulfing the embattled US plane maker.

    The company breached the $2.5 billion settlement “by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the US fraud laws throughout its operations,” according to the filing late on Tuesday. Boeing shares fell 2.1% in Wednesday trading.
    The company now has four weeks to respond with its analysis and comments, which will be taken into consideration with regard to any next steps. The Justice Department said it’s still determining how to proceed, including whether and how to punish the company.

  19. Cisco gained 4.9% in after-hours trading after giving a solid sales and profit forecast for the current quarter, indicating that customers are beginning to invest in their computer networks again.

    Sales will be $13.4 billion to $13.6 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in July, the company said. That compares with an average analyst estimate of $13.5 billion. Excluding certain items, profit will be 84 cents to 86 cents a share, versus a prediction of 84 cents. Cisco’s adjusted gross margin — the percentage of sales remaining after deducting the cost of production — is expected to be 66.5% to 67.5% this quarter.

  20. Chubb shares 8.3% in after-hours trading after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. unveiled a $6.7 billion stake in the insurer, ending months of suspense over its mystery position in a financial firm, previously kept concealed in regulatory filings.

    Berkshire disclosed the holding in a filing on Wednesday, reflecting its positions at the end of the first quarter. The conglomerate has been building the stake since 2023 but it hadn’t previously been reported because the Securities and Exchange Commission allowed Berkshire to keep it confidential. Still, separate quarterly filings reflected that Berkshire’s equity stakes in banks, insurance and finance companies were growing, while the firm was pulling back in other industries including consumer products.

  21. Palo Alto Networks is buying security assets from IBM to expand customer base

    Palo Alto Networks is buying IBM’s QRadar cloud software assets and moving customers over to its own platform. The two companies have been working together more closely in recent months but still had product overlap. IBM will adopt Palo Alto products internally and train more than 1,000 consultants on them.

  22. Asia markets rise after Wall Street soars on soft inflation data; Japan GDP shrinks

    Asia-Pacific markets rose Thursday after Wall Street benchmarks closed at record highs overnight on soft inflation data, while investors assessed Japan GDP data. U.S. consumer price index rose 0.3% in April, below the 0.4% rise predicted by the Dow Jones. U.S. CPI climbed 3.4% year over year, in line with market estimates.

  23. Stock futures edge higher after S&P 500 closes above 5,300 for the first time

    Stock futures ticked higher Thursday after a lighter-than-expected inflation reading propelled the major averages to record highs. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 65 points, or 0.16%. S&P 500 futures ticked higher by 0.14%, while Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.2%.

  24. Gold drifts higher as rising Fed rate cut expectations boost appeal

    Gold prices inched up on Thursday following a sharp rise in the last session as the dollar and bond yields weakened on the increasing likelihood of rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve as early as September. Spot gold rose 0.1% at $2,388.10 per ounce, as of 0255 GMT, after gaining more than 1% to its highest since April 19 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $2,393.20.

    25.Fed’s Kashkari Says Rates Likely on Hold for a ‘While Longer’

    (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari repeated the central bank likely needs to keep interest rates at the current level for “a while longer,” and questioned how much they’re restraining the US economy. “The biggest uncertainty in my mind is how much downward pressure is monetary policy putting on the economy.

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