1. Asia Stocks Climb with Focus on China Stimulus: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Asian stocks climbed on bets China will be more forceful to prop up markets and as traders shrugged off a slew of cautious remarks from Federal Reserve officials. Equities in South Korea and Australia opened higher, while Japanese stocks were mixed on earnings results from major companies including Toyota and Daikin.

  2. US Tells China Yellen Wants to Visit This Year as Ties Stabilize

    (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to visit China this year, a US delegation told Chinese officials in Beijing, a sign that ties between the two economic superpowers are further stabilizing. The US group relayed the message during meetings this week with Chinese officials including Vice Premier He Lifeng, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

  3. New York Community Bancorp’s Credit Grade Cut to Junk by Moody’s

    (Bloomberg) — New York Community Bancorp’s credit grade was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service less than a week after the regional lender said it was stockpiling reserves to cover souring loans tied to commercial real estate. The bank is facing “multifaceted” financial risks and governance challenges, Moody’s wrote in a report Tuesday, lowering the company’s long-term issuer rating two notches below investment grade to Ba2. The ratings firm said it could go further if conditions deteriorate.

  4. Qatar Says Hamas Sent ‘Positive’ Response Over Hostage Talks

    (Bloomberg) — The Palestinian militant group Hamas has delivered a “positive” response to a proposal to halt fighting in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of some Israeli hostages, Qatar’s prime minister said, offering hope that a deal could be reached soon. Qatar received the group’s response about the general framework for an agreement to release some of the hostages, Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at a briefing alongside visiting Secretary of State Antony Blinken, without detailing Hamas’ answer.

  5. Mester Says Fed Should Gain Confidence to Cut ‘Later This Year’

    (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said policymakers will probably gain confidence to cut interest rates “later this year” if the economy evolves as expected but said she doesn’t see a need to rush. Meantime, she said Fed officials want to see more evidence that inflation is cooling toward their 2% target and cautioned against lowering borrowing costs too soon.

  6. Treasuries Rally Before Record 10-Year Bond Sale: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — The world’s biggest bond market rebounded, with traders gearing up for a record $42 billion sale of 10-year Treasuries after a solid start to this week’s ramped-up issuance sizes. Following a selloff that drove two-year yields to their highest since before the Fed’s December “pivot”, bonds climbed. A $54 billion sale of three-year notes drew solid demand, bolstering sentiment and making traders shrug off a slew of cautious remarks from Federal Reserve speakers. The S&P 500 saw a small gain.

  7. BP shares rose 5.5% after fourth-quarter profit beat estimates and analysts welcomed the oil major’s plan to buy back $1.75 billions of shares each quarter in the first half of the year. Morgan Stanley calls the announcement an “important signal of confidence.”

    4Q RESULTS: Adjusted net income $2.99 billion, -38% y/y, estimate $2.76 billion. Adjusted Ebit $6.13 billion, – 34% y/y, estimate $5.87 billion. Adjusted oil production & operations PBIT $3.55 billion, -20% y/y, estimate $3.35 billion. Adj. gas & low carbon energy PBIT $1.78 billion, -44% y/y, estimate $2 billion. Operating cash flow $9.38 billion, -31% y/y, estimate $8.24 billion. Committed to announcing $3.5 billion in share buyback for the first half of 2024. Plans share buybacks of at least $14 billion through 2025 as part of commitment.

  8. Fortinet Inc. reported stronger fourth-quarter billings and revenue than expected, sending the shares up almost 11.7% in afterhours trading.

    Revenue increased 10% to $1.42 billion, the company said, slightly higher than the $1.41 billion estimate among analysts. Billings rose by 8.5% to $1.86 billion after the cybersecurity company completed a record number of deals in the period. Analysts had expected billings would fall for the first time in company history. Fortinet forecast annual revenue of $5.72 billion to $5.82 billion, below the $5.95 billion that analysts projected.

  9. Ford Motor Co., buffeted by electric vehicle losses and rising labor costs, posted fourth quarter results that beat expectations and forecast higher profits in 2024.

    The automaker announced adjusted earnings per share of 29 cents, more than double the 13 cents analysts expected on average. Fourth quarter revenue of $46 billion surpassed the $40.3 billion analysts expected. “We are nowhere near our earnings potential,” Ford Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said. As electric vehicle sales slow, Farley is attempting to thread the needle between scaling back the company’s EV spending by $12 billion while dialing up output of traditional internal combustion engine models, which generate profits needed to fund future growth.

  10. Snap Inc. plunged 32.4% in late trading after posting disappointing revenue in the holiday quarter, a sign the owner of the Snapchat app is still reeling from a slump in its digital advertising business.

    Fourth-quarter revenue increased 5% to $1.36 billion, missing analysts’ average projection of $1.38 billion. For the full year, sales growth was flat, “reflecting a challenging operating environment. “Snap projected a loss in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $55 million to $95 million in the current period — far beyond the loss of $33 million analysts were expecting.

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