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Asian Stocks Retreat on Middle East Concerns and Fed Rate Cut Uncertainty

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Asian stocks edged lower on Tuesday as concerns over the situation in the Middle East overshadowed expectations for an early Federal Reserve interest rate cut. The absence of trading catalysts due to a holiday in Wall Street limited buying activity, and analysts cautioned that optimism about substantial monetary policy loosening by the US central bank might be excessive. Equities had surged at the end of 2023 amid signs of decreasing inflation and a softening job market, fueling speculation of a Fed rate cut. However, recent developments, including strong employment data and higher-than-expected consumer prices, have tempered those expectations.

Market pricing indicates anticipation of nearly seven rate cuts in 2024, reflecting the belief that disinflation is firmly entrenched. Analysts, such as Stephen Innes at SPI Asset Management, questioned whether the market is now overestimating the Fed’s readiness to implement rate cuts over the next 12 months. While inflation is generally trending downward, concerns persist that it could resurface, especially amid ongoing tensions in the Middle East.

Recent US and UK strikes against Yemen’s Huthis, in response to attacks on Red Sea shipping, have heightened geopolitical tensions, with fears of potential retaliation. Despite initial upward movement, oil prices remain subdued due to global economic struggles, particularly in China. Investors are now awaiting key US data releases on retail sales, industrial production, and jobs later in the week.

Most Asian markets experienced declines, with Tokyo seeing a small drop after six consecutive gains that lifted the Nikkei to a 34-year high. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Wellington, Taipei, and Manila also reported losses. The weak performance follows European losses tied to Germany’s slight economic contraction in 2023, attributed to factors such as costly energy, high-interest rates, and weakening foreign demand.

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Heidelberg Cement Discloses their Q3 Financials

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Heidelberg Cement

One of the listed companies,Heidelberg Cement Bangladesh Limited discloses its financial reports for the first quarter, (January – March 24).

The company’s earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 6.96 paisa in Q1 of the current financial year (January – March 24). EPS was Tk 6.85 paisa during the same period last year. NAV per share was Tk. 74.16 as of March 31, 2024.

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Matin Spinning Reports Impressive EPS Growth in Q3

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Matin Spinning

One of the listed companies, Matin Spinning Mills PLC discloses its financial reports for the third quarter, (January – March 24).

The company’s earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 0.98 paisa in Q3 of the current financial year (January – March 24). EPS was Tk 0.11 paisa during the same period last year. NAV per share  (with revaluation reserves) was Tk. 57.19 as on March 31, 2024.

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EPS hikes for Prime Bank in Q1

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Prime Bank

One of the listed companies, Prime Bank PLC discloses its financial reports for the first quarter, (January – March 24).

The company’s Consolidated earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 1.16 paisa in Q1 of the current financial year (January – March 24). Consolidated EPS was Tk 0.92 paisa during the same period last year. Consolidated NAV per share was Tk. 31.93 as of March 31, 2024.

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