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Global Markets Tumble as Strong US Jobs Report Dashes Rate Cut Expectations

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Global markets faced a shaky start to the new year, extending the previous week’s lackluster performance, as a stronger-than-expected US jobs report dashed hopes for an imminent interest rate cut.

he highly anticipated non-farm payrolls data revealed the resilience of the world’s largest economy despite sitting at a two-decade high for interest rates and grappling with inflation above the Federal Reserve’s target. Contrary to year-end optimism fueled by expectations of monetary policy normalization, minutes from the Fed’s December meeting indicated a willingness to maintain elevated rates to control prices. While policymakers signaled a potential 75 basis points cut this year, market expectations hovered around 150 points, leaving room for potential disappointment.

Barclays economists, including Christian Keller, noted conflicting signals in the first week of 2024, with robust US jobs growth and a cautious Fed, creating uncertainty around the market’s aggressive rate-cut projections. Despite solid economic indicators, a significant slowdown in the services sector offered some consolation, suggesting a potential economic deceleration and allowing the Fed flexibility.

Bloomberg reported that swaps traders still eyed around 140 basis points of easing this year, with a two-thirds chance of a March move. While US indices closed slightly higher, the optimism did not carry into Asian markets on Monday, with Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, and Wellington posting losses, and Tokyo closed for a holiday.

Hong Kong and Shanghai led the regional decline, with Saxo’s Redmond Wong highlighting attractive valuations but a prevailing sluggish sentiment and a lack of catalysts for an immediate rally. Investors now await the release of US consumer price figures later in the week, seeking macroeconomic clarity amid ongoing uncertainties in a market characterized by concerns about an indeterminate economic landscape and the lingering anticipation of a potentially volatile year ahead.

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Bearish Trend on DSE

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Dhaka Stock Market DSE, Bourse on the last working day of the week, 18th July, ended with a drop in Indices and Turnover from the previous working session. This information is known from DSE sources.

391 crore 52 lakh taka shares were traded on this day. 192 crore 89 lakh less tradings were done in DSE today compared to the previous workday, July 16th, Shares worth Tk 662 crores 24 lakh shares were traded last time, Tuesday.

The benchmark DSEX decreased 36.64 points or 5,446 The Shariah-based index DSES dropped 10.43 points or 1,191 and the blue-chip index DS30 lost by 8.10 points or 1,953.

Of the issues traded, 38 advanced, 311 declined and 46 remained unchanged.

Techno Drugs Limited ranked top gainer on DSE, the share price increased by Tk 3.10 paisa or 9.72 percent. On this day, the share was last traded at Tk 35.00 paisa.

BD Thai Aluminium Limited ranked top loser on the DSE, the share price dropped by Tk 0.60 paisa or 3.00 percent. On this day, the share was last traded at Tk 19.40 paisa.

DSE topped on trade is Sea Pearl Beach Resort & Spa Limited 15 crore 86 lakh takas of company shares have been traded.

A total of 31 companies’ shares were traded in the Block on Dhaka Stock Exchange. A total of 1 crore 6 lakh 61 thousand 203 shares of the companies were traded. The financial value of which is 31 crore 82 lakh taka

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Asian markets drop with Wall St as Biden sparks fresh chip fears

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Asian markets sank with Wall Street on Thursday after a warning from the White House that it would target firms supplying China with key semiconductor technology, and Donald Trump’s comments on crucial chip supplier Taiwan.

The dollar remained subdued following its latest retreat caused by growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at least once this year.

Firms linked to artificial intelligence have led a surge in equities this year as investors see the sector as the next major growth area, with market darling Nvidia piling on more than 140 percent since the start of the year.

The industry has helped push the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to multiple records in the past seven months, helped by the prospect of lower borrowing costs.

But the rally took a blow Wednesday when Bloomberg News reported that Joe Biden was looking at imposing strict curbs on firms such as Tokyo Electron and ASML if they continue allowing Beijing access to their chip tech.

The report, which comes as he looks to buttress his credentials as strong on China ahead of November’s presidential election against Trump, sent shivers across trading floors, sending the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index plunging nearly seven percent — its heaviest loss since 2020.

Nvidia dived more than six percent and Dutch firm ASML collapsed more than 12 percent.

Tokyo Electron fell 7.5 percent on Wednesday and a further 9.5 percent Thursday. TSMC shed more than three percent in Taipei.

Meanwhile, Trump’s comments that Taiwan — home of the key chip-maker TSMC and other major producers — should pay the US for its defence caused some geopolitical unease.

The fear fuelled a sell-off across Asian equities, with Tokyo and Taipei down at least two percent, while there were also hefty losses in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore and Manila.

Analysts warned that the imposition of more chip restrictions could fuel further selling and lead to a correction in markets, which some warn have become overbought.

– ‘A big currency problem’ –

Worries over tech have offset the feel-good mood that has been sparked by recent data and comments from Fed officials indicating they are ready to cut interest rates as soon as September, and possibly again before January.

The latest boost for doves came in the central bank’s Beige Book summary of the economy, which said there were signs it was slowing.

“Expectations for the future of the economy were for slower growth over the next six months due to uncertainty around the upcoming election, domestic policy, geopolitical conflict, and inflation,” the report said.

The prospect of lower rates has weighed on the dollar, while the yen — which has been battered against the greenback this year — has won support from bets on a Bank of Japan hike in coming months.

“Markets are pricing in the Fed to start cutting rates in September, and risks of yen carry trade — the practice of borrowing low yielding currencies to invest in high yielding currencies — unwinding are building as yield gap narrows,” Saxo researchers said in a note.

“Recent comments from Trump have also hinted at concerns from US dollar strength.”

Trump, in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention, has also weighed in on the dollar’s relative strength against the yen and yuan, telling Bloomberg Businessweek “we have a big currency problem” and “I would always notice they fought very hard to keep their currency low”.

Taylor Nugent, at National Australia Bank, said: “The comments play to the view (that) bilateral trade deficits and currency valuations are a key focus, and tariffs would be a key negotiating tool.”

Investors are keeping tabs on Beijing, where China’s leaders are expected to wrap up a key gathering, with hopes President Xi Jinping will unveil fresh measures to boost the world’s number two economy.

– Key figures around 0300 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.0 percent at 40,277.86 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.5 percent at 17,652.42

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,944.67

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3007 from $1.3012 on Wednesday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0938 from $1.0941

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 155.92 yen from 156.33 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 84.09 pence at 84.07 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $83.39 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.5 percent at $85.49 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 41,198.08 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 8,187.46 (close)

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LafargeHolcim reveals their Q2 Financials

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One of the listed companies, LafargeHolcim Bangladesh Limited discloses its financial reports for the second quarter, (April – June 24).

The company’s Consolidated earnings per share (EPS) Tk 1.14 paisa in Q2 of the current financial year (April – June 24). Consolidated EPS was Tk. 0.69 for January-June 2024 as against Tk. 1.47 for the same period last year. EPS  was Tk 0.80 paisa during the same period last year. Consolidated NAV per share was Tk. 16.60 as of June 30, 2024.

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