1. Asian Stocks Rise on Support from Powell Rate Hint: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia rose Thursday after US equities advanced, helped along by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that interest rates will likely fall this year. Shares in Australia and Japan gained ground, while futures in Hong Kong also drifted higher, taking cues from New York trading Wednesday.

  2. Some Japan Government Officials Support Near-Term BOJ Rate Hike

    (Bloomberg) — The Bank of Japan has a tacit greenlight from some government officials to end its negative interest rate either in March or April as prospects for wage hikes look promising, according to people familiar with the matter.

  3. Nvidia Directors Sell $180 Million in Shares as Insiders Cash In

    (Bloomberg) — Two Nvidia Corp. directors sold about $180 million in shares of the chipmaker in recent days, becoming the latest insiders to cash in as the stock continues to push deeper into record territory. Tench Coxe, a former managing director at venture capital firm Sutter Hill Ventures who has been on Nvidia’s board since 1993, sold 200,000 shares on March 5.

  4. Houthi Missile Kills Crew Members in Escalation of Ship Attacks

    (Bloomberg) — A missile strike on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden resulted in the first confirmed deaths of crew members since Houthi militants began a wave of attacks against commercial shipping in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Three people were killed and at least four were wounded.

  5. US House Approves $460 Billion Bill Ahead of Shutdown Deadline

    (Bloomberg) — The US House approved a $460 billion spending bill, sending it to the Senate where it’s expected to pass in time to avert a Saturday partial government shutdown. The vote is the surest sign in months that chaotic congressional spending battles are winding down after five threatened shutdowns since Oct. 1.

  6. Powell Reiterates Fed Needs More Confidence on Inflation to Cut

    (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated to lawmakers that the US central bank is in no rush to cut interest rates until policymakers are convinced, they have won their battle over inflation. In testimony before a House panel Wednesday, the Fed chief said it will likely be appropriate to begin lower borrowing costs.

  7. Trump Dares Biden to Debate After Jilting Republican Rivals

    (Bloomberg) — Donald Trump challenged President Joe Biden to debate after refusing to attend the same forums with his Republican primary challengers, a change in attitude that coincides with the effective start of the 2024 general election. “It is important, for the Good of our Country, that Joe Biden and I Debate Issues that are so vital to America, and the American People,” Trump wrote Wednesday in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

  8. Fed’s Kashkari Sees Two Rate Cuts in 2024, Potentially Just One

    (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said he expects the Fed to cut interest rates two times — or potentially just once — in 2024 but emphasized he hasn’t finalized his forecasts for the Fed’s upcoming meeting. When policymakers last released rate forecasts in December, Kashkari said he projected two rate cuts for this year.

  9. NYCB Raises Over $1 Billion in Equity Led by Mnuchin’s Firm

    (Bloomberg) — Commercial real estate lender New York Community Bancorp received an equity investment of more than $1 billion, gaining a vote of confidence in the struggling lender from investors including former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The capital injection was led by Mnuchin’s Liberty Strategic Capital, Hudson Bay Capital and Reverence Capital Partners.

  10. Hedge Funds Stake Billions on Hess Deal Sidestepping Exxon Claim

    (Bloomberg) — Hedge fund managers that wagered billions on Chevron Corp.’s October deal to buy Hess Corp. are sticking to their bets despite another roadblock that could potentially torpedo the acquisition.

  11. DHL shares slid 5.5% to touch a 3-1/2-month low after the German logistics firm presented weaker-than-expected 4Q earnings, weighed down by its Express and Freight Forwarding divisions. Analysts were also left disappointed by the 2024 outlook.

    FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS: Ebit EU1.64 billion, -15% y/y, estimate EU1.68 billion. Revenue EU21.35 billion, -10% y/y, estimate EU21.59 billion. Post and Parcel Germany revenue EU4.74 billion, estimate EU4.66 billion. Express revenue EU6.56 billion, -6.7% y/y, estimate EU6.61 billion. Supply Chain revenue EU4.36 billion vs. EU4.36 billion y/y, estimate EU4.49 billion. Global Forwarding, Freight revenue EU4.57 billion, -33% y/y, estimate EU4.77 billion. E-commerce Solutions revenue EU1.83 billion, +7.6% y/y, estimate EU1.72 billion. Net income EU981 million, -27% y/y, estimate EU1.05 billion. YEAR FORECAST: Sees Ebit EU6.0 billion to EU6.6 billion, estimate EU6.64 billion. Sees free cash flow about EU3 billion, estimate EU2.95 billion.

  12. Tesla shares declined 2.3% after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, a noted Tesla bull, cut his price target for the EV maker.

    He said Tesla could lose money in the coming quarters, citing competition from hybrid cars. Meanwhile, Tesla’s factory near Berlin has yet to reopen one day after a nearby electricity tower was set ablaze, adding to strains on the carmaker expecting slower growth this year. The company has cautioned it’s unable to say when production can resume at its plant in Gruenheide, Germany, where locals have opposed Tesla clearing more forest for an expansion. The factory has topped out making around 6,000 Model Y sport utility vehicles a week.

  13. Estee Lauder’s Clinique brand, which accounts for about 30% of total company sales, will likely see significant damage to its brand perception, Jefferies wrote, following a report that Clinique’s acne product was among several skincare treatments included in an independent testing laboratory’s petition to the FDA seeking a recall. EL shares fell 1.3%.

    The testing lab found that certain benzoyl peroxide skincare products contained levels of Benzene (a chemical linked to cancer) that were substantially above FDA guidelines “We expect this to heavily damage brand perception, hurting EL’s topline,” Jefferies analyst Ashley Helgans wrote. EL’s plan to rebrand Clinique as a dermatological product line will be “challenged and will require greater investment or redirection,” she says. Sees shares range bound between $135-$150 in near term. Rates hold.

  14. ADRs rose 16.2% after reporting estimate-beating earnings, easing concerns that e-commerce competition in China would further erode its margins. Higher electronics and home appliance sales drove revenue ahead of estimates.

    The firm also approved a $3 billion buyback program and hiked its annual dividend payout by 23%.
    Management said on conference call that it expects the momentum of consumption recovery will be further strengthened; confident company will outperform the broader market in 2024. FOURTH
    QUARTER RESULTS: Net revenue 306.08 billion yuan, +3.6% y/y, estimate 299.9 billion yuan. Adjusted earnings per American depositary receipts 5.30 yuan vs. 4.81-yuan y/y, estimate 4.57 yuan. Adjusted Ebitda 9.66 billion yuan, +8.6% y/y, estimate 9.46 billion yuan. Adjusted operating margin 2.5% vs. 2.5% y/y, estimate 2.5%.

  15. Intel Corp shares were up 3.13% after the US government announced plans to invest $3.5 billion to enable the company to produce advanced semi-conductors for military and intelligence programmes.

    The funding comes from a broader $39 billion Chips and Science Act grant pool and would run over three years, establishing the company as a dominant domestic player in the defense market. The company is set to receive a total Chips Act incentive package of more than $10 billion that includes both grants and loans. The Chips Act is designed to convince chipmakers to produce semi-conductors in the US.

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