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Equities sink, oil rallies on fears of Iran-Israel conflict

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Asian stocks fell and oil prices climbed Tuesday on growing fears of a wider war in the Middle East after Israel’s army chief vowed a response to Iran’s unprecedented attack on his country at the weekend.

The selling came after Wall Street’s three main indexes tanked in response to forecast-beating US retail sales data that reinforced the view that the world’s top economy remained in rude health and further dented hopes for interest rate cuts this year.

Traders were also digesting a mixed bag of figures showing Chinese growth easily beat expectations in the first three months of the year but retail sales and industrial production came in well below par.

All eyes are on the Middle East after Tehran fired hundreds of missiles and drones at its regional enemy, saying the attack was retaliation for an April 1 strike on the consular annex of its Damascus embassy that killed seven Revolutionary Guards including two generals.

While air defence systems destroyed the vast majority of the barrage and Iran said “the matter can be deemed concluded”, Israel’s army chief General Herzi Halevi sounded a note of warning, fuelling worries of a dangerous escalation.

“This launch of so many (Iranian) missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs into the territory of the State of Israel will be met with a response,” Halevi told troops at the Nevatim military base, which was hit in Iran’s Saturday barrage.

However, he added that the military would not be distracted from its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Warren Patterson, at ING Groep, said the prospect of a response by Tel Aviv “means that this uncertainty and tension will linger for quite some time”.

“The more escalation we see, the more likely we are to see oil supply from the region impacted.”

Oil prices rose in Asian trade, having slipped Monday on hopes for a de-escalation following US calls for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “take the win” and forgo a counterattack.

In early trade, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta were all sharply down.

– China’s mixed data –

Investors appeared to ignore figures showing China’s economy grew 5.3 percent in the first three months of the year, well above the 4.6 percent predicted in an AFP survey of analysts.

However, other data reinforced worries about the outlook, with industrial production and retail sales coming in well below forecasts, ramping up worries about the prospects for the next quarter.

“China data appears to be strong on the headline, but the details are weak, said Saxo’s Charu Chanana.

“This would suggest that the economy needs more support, and markets will continue to position for a weak yuan.”

The losses in Asia followed a big sell-off on Wall Street, which was dragged down by tech giants including Amazon, Apple and Alphabet.

That came after figures showed March retail sales beat expectations in yet another indication that the US economy remains strong despite two-decade-high interest rates.

The reading followed news that inflation came in above estimates for the third time in a row last month, while jobs creation was also much stronger than forecast, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to hold off cutting interest rates.

Investors are now betting on just two reductions this year, compared with six pencilled in at the beginning of January.

And UBS has warned that borrowing costs could even go up if inflation is not brought under control.

“If the (economic) expansion remains resilient and inflation gets stuck at 2.5 percent or higher, there would be real risk the (Fed policy board) resumes raising rates again by early next year,” said UBS strategists including Jonathan Pingle and Bhanu Baweja.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Fed boss Mary Daly said there was no rush to reduce rates just yet, adding that she wanted to be confident inflation was coming down to the bank’s two percent target.

Treasuries hit new year-to-date highs Monday after the retail sales report.

With rates seen staying higher for longer, the dollar continued to strengthen, and briefly hit a new 34-year high of 154.45 yen, putting the focus on Japanese authorities amid speculation they will step in to support the currency.

Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Tuesday that “we are closely monitoring the latest developments”.

– Key figures around 0300 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.1 percent at 39,405.58 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.5 percent at 16,346.71

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.5 percent at 3,011.12

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $86.14 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.8 percent at $90.80 per barrel

Dollar/yen: UP at 154.36 yen from 154.24 yen on Monday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0608 from $1.0626

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2423 from $1.2449

Euro/pound: UP at 85.38 pence from 85.31 pence

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 37,735.11 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,965.53 (close)

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PM Sheikh Hasina Hails Bangladesh as a Role Model for Global Peace

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared today that Bangladesh has become a role model in global peacekeeping, urging for the cessation of ongoing wars and advocating for dialogue to resolve conflicts, redirecting funds from arms races to human welfare.

“Bangladesh is a dependable name in the efforts of protecting peace and safety alongside establishing global peace. We are acknowledged by all and have become a role model on the global stage,” she stated.

The Prime Minister made these remarks while addressing an event at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2024.

She noted that 6,092 Bangladeshi peacekeepers, including 493 women, are serving with distinction in 13 UN peacekeeping missions.

“Our peacekeepers are working with fame and glory,” she said, adding that heads of state and government where Bangladeshi peacekeepers are deployed have highly praised their efforts.

“I feel really proud hearing the appreciation,” she continued.

Sheikh Hasina emphasized that Bangladesh follows the ideals of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in its pursuit of global peace.

“We are actively participating in other international forums alongside the UN peacekeeping missions to establish global peace,” she said.

She recalled that Bangladesh’s “Culture of Peace” proposal was unanimously adopted by the UN in 1999, leading to the declaration of the year 2000 as the “International Year of the Culture of Peace.”

The Prime Minister highlighted Bangabandhu’s role as an envoy of peace and a voice for the oppressed, which earned him the “Joliot Curie Peace Medal” on May 23, 1973.

Sheikh Hasina commended Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their dedication to protecting civilians, human rights, and establishing peace globally, noting that they have shared Bangladeshi culture and language with the communities they serve.

“The people of those countries have given you untold love and affection,” she said.

“Overall, our professionalism, efficiency, and commitment in establishing global peace have set an example for others,” she continued, urging peacekeepers to continue their efforts to enhance Bangladesh’s reputation further.

She paid tribute to the 168 Bangladeshi peacekeepers who lost their lives and the 266 who were severely injured in the line of duty.

Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed, Senior Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and United Nations Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis also spoke at the event. The program began with a minute of silence to honor the fallen peacekeepers.

A video documentary showcasing the achievements of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in UN missions was screened, and the Prime Minister handed out awards to three injured peacekeepers.

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Takaful Insurance reveals their Dividends, Q1 Financials

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One of the Listed companies, Takaful Islami Insurance Co. Limited has recommended 10% Cash Dividend for the year ended December 31, 2023.

In terms of financial performance, The Company has also reported EPS  of Tk. 1.47 for the year ended December 31, 2023. NAV per share of Tk. 19.18.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company will be held on August 10, through the digital platform. The record date for this has been fixed at June 27.

Q1 Financials: The company’s earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 0.38 paisa in Q1 of the current financial year (January – March 24). EPS was Tk 0.37 paisa during the same period last year. As of March 31, 2024, at the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, the company’s net asset value (NAV) per share stood at Tk 19.26.

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DSE Dips Again

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Dhaka Stock Exchange DSE, Bourse on the third working day of the week, 28th May, ended with a drop in Indices and Turnover from the previous working session. This information is known from DSE sources.

442 crore 72 lakh taka shares were traded on this day. 65 crore 39 lakh less tradings were done in DSE today compared to the previous workday, 27th May , Shares worth Tk 506 crores 12 lakh shares were traded last time, Monday

The benchmark DSEX lost 31.63 points or 5,278 The Shariah-based index DSES dropped 7.63 points or 1,152, and the blue-chip index DS30 decreased by 13.92 points or 1,886.

Of the issues traded, 92 advanced, 265 declined and 37 remained unchanged.

Global Heavy Chemicals Limited ranked top gainer on DSE, the share price increased by Tk 2.30 paisa or 9.70 percent. On this day, the share was last traded at Tk 26.00 paisa.

National Life Insurance Company Limited ranked top loser on the DSE, the share price dropped by Tk 3.20 paisa or 3 percent. On this day, the share was last traded at Tk 103.60 paisa.

DSE topped on trade is IFIC Bank PLC 21 crore 39 lakh takas of company shares have been traded.

A total of 38 companies’ shares were traded in the Block on Dhaka Stock Exchange. A total of 2 crore 9 lakh 42 thousand 4 shares of the companies were traded. The financial value of which is 41 crore 34 lakh taka

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