1. Asia Stocks Face Pressure as China Congress Begins: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Asian equity markets were under pressure Tuesday with investors focused on China, where officials have set an ambitious 5% growth target alongside measures to boost confidence. Futures pricing indicated selling in Chinese stocks Tuesday amid growing investor concern over Beijing’s ability to correct an economic slowdown.

  2. China Sets Ambitious Growth Target Amid Push to Boost Confidence

    (Bloomberg) — China will set its growth target at around 5% for the year, according to a copy of the government’s annual work report seen by Bloomberg News, raising expectations for officials to unleash more stimulus as they try to lift confidence in a slowing economy. Premier Li Qiang is set to officially unveil the annual goal for gross domestic product.

  3. AMD Hits US Roadblock in Selling AI Chip Tailored for China

    (Bloomberg) — Advanced Micro Devices Inc. hit a US government roadblock in attempting to sell an artificial intelligence chip tailored for the Chinese market, according to people familiar with the matter, part of Washington’s crackdown on the export of advanced technologies to the country. AMD had hoped to gain a green light from the Commerce Department to sell the AI processor to China.

  4. Supreme Court Rules Trump Can Appear on Presidential Ballots

    (Bloomberg) — The US Supreme Court said Donald Trump can appear on presidential ballots this year, putting an end to efforts nationwide to ban him under a rarely used constitutional provision barring insurrectionists from holding office. The court on Monday unanimously overturned a Colorado Supreme Court decision that said Trump forfeited his right to run for president again by trying to overturn his 2020 election loss.

  5. Tokyo Prices Heat Up Again, Supporting Case for BOJ Rate Hike
    (Bloomberg) — Price growth in Tokyo surged back above the Bank of Japan’s target in February, a jump that supports the case for the central bank’s first interest rate hike since 2007. Consumer prices excluding fresh food rose 2.5% in the capital, re-accelerating after cooling in January to a revised 1.8%, the ministry of internal affairs said Tuesday.

  6. For Fed’s QT, There’s Now More to Think About Than Just Tapering

    (Bloomberg) — Market participants have been so focused on determining when and how much the Federal Reserve will slow its balance-sheet unwind that they haven’t even started to consider another wrinkle: the composition of the US central bank’s assets. Officials are preparing for an in-depth discussion of the Fed’s asset reduction, a process known as quantitative tightening or QT, which began in June 2022.

  7. Mark Cuban Backs Biden in 2024, Urging More Action on Drug Costs
    (Bloomberg) — Mark Cuban urged President Joe Biden to go further to rein in prescription drug costs, a key element of his re-election pitch, as he backed the incumbent ahead of a likely November rematch against Donald Trump. The billionaire entrepreneur and minority owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks visited the White House on Monday in his role as co-founder of the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co.

  8. Morgan Stanley Offers Pre-IPO Share Trading to Wealth Clients

    (Bloomberg) — Morgan Stanley’s wealth management arm is giving its clients a chance to buy and sell coveted shares of private companies before they are available to the wider public, as startups weighing initial public offerings increasingly remain private for longer. The bank’s Private Markets Transaction Desk will assist Morgan Stanley Wealth Management clients seeking to invest in the highly-fragmented and opaque market for private shares, according to a statement Monday.

  9. BT Group advanced 1.4% after Berenberg upgraded the telecom operator to buy, saying the investment case should become much clearer by the end of this year and concerns seem overdone.

    Analyst Carl Murdock-Smith notes that BT has been weakest stock YTD on the Stoxx 600 telecoms
    index, underperforming due to concerns including pivot away from CPI-linked retail pricing, upcoming UK election and results presentation from new CEO. Would be surprised to see CEO Allison Kirkby make any major change in strategy, having been on the company’s board since March 2019.

  10. Shares in Super Micro Computer rallied 18.6% on Monday after it was added to the S&P 500 index in the latest quarterly weighting change. Deckers Outdoor was also added.

    The stocks will replace Whirlpool and Zions Bancorp prior to the start of trading on March 18, S&P Dow Jones Indices said. Meanwhile, Goldman initiated on Super Micro Computer with a neutral rating and $941 price target, viewing shares of the server maker as fairly valued after its roughly 1,000% surge since the beginning of. Analyst Michael Ng says the company is very well positioned to serve demand from AI cloud service providers over the next few years, “but serving enterprise AI infrastructure demand in the years after likely will be more competitive, particularly given more enterprise-focused IT hardware suppliers such as DELL and CSCO.”

  11. Apple Inc. was hit Monday with a €1.8 billion penalty from the European Union over an investigation into allegations it shut out music-streaming rivals, including Spotify, on its platforms.

    The European Commission also ordered the firm to stop preventing music-streaming apps from informing users of cheaper deals away from Apple’s App Store. The larger than expected fine is the first to be handed out to Apple by the EU. Shares fell 2.5%. “For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said. “They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem.”

  12. Tesla fell 7.2% Monday following disappointing China vehicle shipment numbers.

    Tesla shipped 60,365 vehicles from its China factory in February, down ~16% m/m and down ~19% y/y, based on preliminary data from the Passenger Car Association. Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner also noted a fresh round of discounts and price cuts by the electric-vehicle maker in China and in the U.S. In China, Tesla is offering incentives of up to about $5,000 through March on Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in inventory, the analyst wrote, citing news reports. The new incentives include insurance discounts, discounts on paint changes and preferential financing plans on the Model Y, he said.

  13. Ford Motor Co. shares jumped 2.3% after the automaker posted a 10.5% increase in total US vehicle sales for February from a year earlier.

    Ford sold 174,192 vehicles last month compared with 157,606 in February 2023. Electric-vehicle sales surged 81% in February from the year prior. By type, SUV sales jumped 24% while trucks climbed 1.4%.
  14. American Airlines Group Inc.’s shares fell 5.43% after the company announced plans to renegotiate its current contract for co-branded credit cards to boost its shares of a crucial source of revenue for US carriers.

    The company is seeking a partnership that can create an agreement that would increase revenue from cards to 10% from 2023 to 2026, as opposed to 7% in 2019 to 2023. The company is currently in talks with current card partners Citigroup Inc and Barclays Plc.

  15. JetBlue Abandons Troubled $3.8 Billion Deal for Spirit Air

    (Bloomberg) — JetBlue Airways Corp. formally abandoned its pursuit of Spirit Airlines Inc. more than a month after a federal judge blocked the $3.8 billion acquisition on antitrust grounds. The carriers reached an agreement to walk away after determining that required legal and regulatory approvals “were unlikely to be met” by dates specified in the deal, JetBlue said.

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