1. Asia Stocks Muted, Baht Falls on PM Rate-Cut Plea: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Asian stocks held to tight ranges Tuesday as investors awaited fresh catalysts after US markets were closed for a holiday Monday. Stocks in Australia fell, weighed down by BHP Group Ltd. after the miner missed profit estimates, while those in Japan eked out a gain. Futures for Hong Kong shares edged higher.

  2. Capital One to Buy Discover Financial in $35 Billion Stock Deal

    (Bloomberg) — Capital One Financial Corp. agreed to buy credit-card lender Discover Financial Services in a $35 billion all-stock deal to create the largest US credit card company by loan volume. McLean, Virginia-based Capital One will pay 1.0192 of its own shares for each Discover share, a 26.6% premium to the closing price on Feb.16, the firm said in a statement.

  3. Segantii Hedge Fund Assets Shrank by $1 Billion Since March

    (Bloomberg) — Simon Sadler’s Segantii Capital Management Ltd. saw its hedge fund assets shrink by 18% since last March amid investment losses and redemptions, said people familiar with the matter. Assets of the Segantii Asia-Pacific Equity Multistrategy Fund declined to about $4.8 billion at the end of January, from nearly $5.9 billion in March 2023.

  4. Houthi Strikes Force Crew to Abandon Ship for First Time

    (Bloomberg) — The crew of a commercial ship in the Red Sea abandoned the vessel following a Houthi attack the first such evacuation since the militant group began menacing trade in the vital waterway late last year. Two-anti ship ballistic missiles damaged the Belize-flagged Ruby mar on Sunday evening local time, US Central Command said Monday on social media.

  5. Goldman Gauges Show Why Biden’s Benefit From Economy in Doubt

    (Bloomberg) — Just as Americans are getting ready to cast ballots in November, President Joe Biden’s economy will be right around the dividing line that typically separates winning reelection campaigns from losing ones. That’s the takeaway from research by Goldman Sachs that looked through economic data for the best vote predictors and on forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

  6. Biden, Trump Campaign Efforts in Michigan Show a Sharp Contrast in Tone

    MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. — The Biden-Harris pep rally at a union hall here was thrown together quickly, not wanting Donald Trump’s visit to Oakland County the next day to go unchecked. The two events could not have been more different, either in scale or in tone. A small community of Democratic activists came Friday, seeking the jolt of energy they felt their campaign lacked, and their anxiety was palpable, both for the difficulties of winning and the consequences of failure.

  7. China 5-Yr Loan Prime Rate Cut to 3.95%, 1-Yr Kept Unchanged

    (Bloomberg) — The one-year loan prime rate is set at 3.45% in Feb. vs 3.45% in Jan., according to website of the Chinese central bank. The five-year loan prime rate is set at 3.95% in Feb. vs 4.20% in Jan. NOTE: The loan prime rates are seen as the de facto benchmark lending rates in China and are based on the quotes that 20 qualified banks submit to the PBOC of rates.

  8. OIL BAROMETERS: Brent, Diesel Longs Boosted; WTI Spreads Jump

    (Bloomberg) — Money managers boosted ICE Brent outright long positions to the highest since October 2021, while Nymex heating oil net longs rose the most since 2020. Brent’s prompt spread was the strongest since October, while WTI’s surged as it headed toward expiry. WTI Midland climbed to the strongest level in a year on Friday.

  9. Hedge fund Munro says Nvidia, Microsoft have more to run

    (Financial Review) – Kieran Moore is portfolio manager of Munro Partners Global Growth Fund. The Melbourne-based hedge fund oversees $4.3 billion in assets. We are comfortable with their valuations. For all three of these companies, we believe their reported earnings per share number can double, as they are all backed by the structural tailwind of artificial intelligence.

  10. Finally in February: Hedge-Fund Hires Sprout Green Shoots

    (Bloomberg Intelligence) — Two hedge-fund hires flagged on Feb. 15 break the silent streak year to date, with Junto Capital and Voloridge Investment Management winning new business. Still, relatively muted activity supports an intact secular slowdown in net new hires, after reaching a fresh low in 2023, based on P&I data.

  11. BHP Group Ltd. reported flat first-half profit from the year before, as the world’s biggest miner felt the impact of nickel-asset impairments and other provisions even as demand for iron ore and other core commodities remained resilient.

    The company’s underlying attributable profit from continuing operations in the six months to Dec. 31 was $6.57 billion, it said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. That compared to analysts’ estimate of $6.73 billion. It will pay an interim dividend of 72 cents a share, down from 90 cents in the previous six months. BHP’s net income in the period slumped 86% from the year before to $972 million.

    12. Bayer AG plans to slash its dividend by 95% in an effort to dig itself out of a hole created by the acquisition of Monsanto Co. that saddled the German company with massive debt and waves of litigation.

    While a dividend cut was expected, the reduction highlights the challenges facing the drug and crop sciences company as it tries to stem its cash drain, rebuild its pharmaceutical pipeline and recover from the $63 billion takeover of the owner of Roundup herbicide in 2018. Bayer said it will offer investors only the legal minimum required under German law, paying out 11-euro cents ($0.12) per share for 2023, down from €2.40 last year.

  12. AstraZeneca Plc shares rose after trial data showed Tagrisso slowed disease progression in patients with advanced lung cancer in another win for the pharmaceutical giant’s blockbuster drug.

    The trial looked at Tagrisso as a maintenance therapy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a specific genetic mutation, where there is no targeted treatment available. AstraZeneca said the trial showed a statistically significant and highly clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival for patients whose cancer was unable to be removed by surgery and had responded to initial chemoradiation. This is when patients have chemotherapy alongside radiotherapy. Tagrisso, alongside chemotherapy, was also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 16, for advanced, non-small cell lung cancer. AstraZeneca’s shares rose as much as 3.9% in early London trading.

    14. Japanese multi-national video game company Nintendo Co Ltd.’s shares fell 5.81% after the company announced that the launch of Switch 2 will be delayed to the beginning of 2025 from the last quarter of 2024.

    The company is also seen holding back its upcoming blockbuster games for the next-generation hardware. While President Shuntaro Furukawa has declined to comment on the new hardware, he highlighted that the company will disclose its plans for the next fiscal year after it concludes the current one in March.

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