1. Asia Mixed, US Stocks Hit Record on Inflation Data: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Asian equities headed for a cautious start on Friday after US stocks ended February with fresh highs as the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge met consensus forecasts. Australian and Japanese equities traded within tight ranges while contracts for Hong Kong were slightly lower.

  2. A Stock Trader’s Guide on What to Watch at China Party Congress

    (Bloomberg) — China’s equity investors will be watching for trading cues from policy priorities and signals about fiscal stimulus at a meeting of the country’s top officials next week. The annual gathering of the National People’s Congress, where the ruling Communist Party makes economic and policy announcements, is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday.

  3. Alibaba Triggers Price War in Cloud Computing with Steep Cuts

    (Bloomberg) — Inc. took less than a day to respond to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s price cuts in cloud computing services with its own sharp reductions, an aggressive round of competition that will benefit customers and erode profits at China’s leading technology companies. Alibaba began slashing prices by as much as 55% on more than 100 services Thursday in a bid to win back customers in the hotly contested market.

  4. Key Fed inflation measure rose 0.4% in January as expected, up 2.8% from a year ago

    Inflation rose in line with expectations in January, according to an important gauge the Federal Reserve uses as it deliberates cutting interest rates. The personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy costs increased 0.4% for the month and 2.8% from a year ago, as expected according to the Dow Jones consensus estimate.

  5. Biden Says Gaza Cease-Fire May Happen Later Than Monday

    (Bloomberg) — US President Joe Biden said he remains hopeful about the prospects for a temporary pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas but that it is unlikely to begin by Monday as he originally sought. “Hope springs eternal. I was on the telephone with the people in the region. I’m still working on it.

  6. Senate Has Votes to Clear Stopgap Govt Funding to Avert Shutdown

    (Bloomberg) — The US Senate has enough votes to clear stopgap funding that averts a partial government shutdown. The vote is ongoing and passage sends the bill to President Biden. NOTE: The bill funds government into March; congressional leaders have said they will pass all full-year spending bills by March 22.

  7. XPeng Inc. (NYSE: NYSE: XPEV) and Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p) Group (OTC: VWAGY) have announced a new phase in their partnership with the signing of a Master Agreement focused on platform and software strategic technical collaboration.

    This agreement, which follows previous announcements on July 26 and December 6, 2023, signals a significant step in the joint development of B-class battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and sets the stage for a more extensive and deeper strategic collaboration in the future.

  8. Ex-BOJ Director Says Rate Liftoff Likely in April, Not March

    (Bloomberg) — The Bank of Japan will likely wait until April before terminating the world’s last negative interest rate, rather than moving later this month, according to a former executive director in charge of monetary policy. “I can’t think of any reason for daring to make the move in March,” Kazuo Momma, the former director, said in an interview Thursday.

  9. US Hedge Fund Profits After Doubling Bet on European Gas Options

    (Bloomberg) — A US hedge fund specializing in natural gas profited from an unusually large bet that volatility would ease in Europe, showing the growth of the options market after banks and hedge funds piled in following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Miami-based Statar Capital LLC doubled its €350 million investment buying €50 put options in early November, according to a people familiar with the situation who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

  10. Best Buy gains 3.8% after the electronics retailer reported a smaller-than-expected decline in comparable sales and showed sequential improvement from the previous quarter. D.A. Davidson also highlights its gross margin beat and outlook as bright spots of the report.

    The stock earlier rose as much as 8.1%, the most since November 2022, before paring some of the
    advance. 2025 YEAR FORECAST: Sees adjusted EPS $5.75 to $6.20, estimate $6.15 (Bloomberg
    Consensus); Sees revenue $41.3 billion to $42.6 billion, estimate $42.34 billion; Sees comparable sales –3% to 0%, estimate -0.01%.

  11. Dell Technologies Inc. reported better-than-expected sales and profit as corporations appear to be updating their information technology equipment to meet artificial intelligence demand. The shares jumped about 17% after the results were released.

    Sales declined 11% to $22.3 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter, the company said Thursday in a statement. That’s slightly ahead of the $22.2 billion expected by analysts. Profit, excluding some items, was $2.20 per share. Analysts, on average, projected $1.72, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Known for its PC business, Dell has attracted investor interest over the last year due to a spike in demand for high-powered servers needed to run AI workloads. The infrastructure unit, which includes servers, reported revenue of $9.33 billion, topping estimates. A sequential increase in sales from the previous period was “driven primarily by AI-optimized servers,” the Round Rock, Texas-based company said, though the unit’s total revenue declined 6% from the same quarter a year earlier.

  12. Okta shares rise as much as 25% on Thursday, its biggest intraday rise since December 2022, after the application software company reported fourth-quarter results that beat expectations. Analysts view the results as a relief in the wake of a recent breach. BofA Global Research double upgraded its recommendation on the stock.

    2025 YEAR FORECAST: Sees adjusted EPS $2.24 to $2.29, estimate $1.98 (Bloomberg Consensus); Sees revenue $2.50 billion to $2.51 billion, estimate $2.48 billion; Sees adjusted operating income $455 million to $465 million, estimate $423.6 million. FIRST QUARTER FORECAST: Sees adjusted EPS of 54c to 55c, estimate 42c; Sees adjusted operating income $108 million to $110 million, estimate $86.6 million; Sees revenue $603 million to $605 million, estimate $584.9 million.

    13. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co’s shares rose 2.49% after the company narrowed its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) forecast for the full year.

    The company reported first quarter adjusted EPS of $0.48 as compared to $0.63 in the same period last year, missing estimates of $0.45. The company also declared a cash dividend of $0.13 per share payable on April 12. Despite a mixed quarter, Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri remains confident in the company’s focus on customer-centric innovation and will continue capitalizing on any artificial intelligence opportunities.

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