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Friday March 14, 2014 - 07:33:29 GMT
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| | Email Asian Market Update: Nikkei down 3% as geopolitical jitters and China growth concerns remain in the spotlight - Source

- (SG) SINGAPORE Q4 FINAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 1.8% V 1.8% PRELIM - (NZ) NEW ZEALAND FEB NON-RESIDENT BOND HOLDINGS: 63.3% V 63.7% PRIOR - (NZ) NEW ZEALAND FEB BUSINESS MANUFACTURING PMI: 56.2 V 56.2 PRIOR - (CL) CHILE CENTRAL BANK CUTS OVERNIGHT RATE TARGET BY 25BPS TO 4.00%; AS EXPECTED - (PE) PERU CENTRAL BANK LEAVES REFERENCE RATE UNCHANGED AT 4.00%, AS EXPECTED - NPD: Feb total US video game sales $810M, +9% y/y Market Snapshot (as of 03:30 GMT): - Nikkei225 -2.9%, S&P/ASX -1.3%, Kospi -0.6%, Shanghai Composite -0.5%, Hang Seng -1.1%, Mar S&P500 +0.1% at 1,841, Apr gold flat at $1,371, Apr crude oil flat at $98.17/brl ***Highlights/Observations/Insights*** - Asian indices are on the back foot again after yesterday's bounce, with familiar themes of China slowdown and Ukraine-Russia standoff sending more investors to the sidelines. Disappointing multi-year low rates of growth in China's industrial production, retail sales, and fixed-asset investment are illuminating that the official 7.5% GDP target may in fact be optimistic, explaining why several mainland officials were quick to underscore it is a "flexible" or "elastic" forecast. Key themes outlined by the NPC this week - reining in credit, fighting pollution, and even stamping out lavish gifts - are all conceivably growth-negative. Chinese press reports today noting a senior govt official said people should not panic if growth is below target, with 7% still meeting employment objectives. ANZ economists also note the latest Feb data puts Q1 GDP below 7.5%. - Corporate defaults also appear to be a new thorn on the side of China economy, weighing further on confidence in the immediate-term. An FT report today noted a second company in China - Haixin Iron and Steel (second largest steel maker in Shanxi Province) - has formally defaulted on debt. Questions to confirm the default in a phone call to the company were unanswered. AUD/USD is bumping along its US session lows near $0.9010, while NZD/USD has backed away from its overnight $0.86 highs to trade around $0.8540. - With 3 days to the controversial referendum in Crimea, neither side appears to be backing down from its firmly entrenched position. Ukraine interim PM Yatsenyuk, who is travelling to the US this week, addressed the UN Security Council with a plea for help. He also spoke directly to the Russia envoy Churkin in Russian, asking if Russia wants war or to return to talks. Churkin remained resolute in opposition to the overthrow of Yanukovych and failure to follow the Feb 21st agreement, but also responded that Russia does not want war. - Separately, US govt rejected Ukraine's plea for military assistance in the form of weaponry, but said it will continue to consider the request based on the situation on the ground. Meanwhile in eastern Ukraine's industrial city of Donetsk, pro-Russian protesters clashed with pro-Ukraine marchers, with 2 reported fatalities and the possibility of a pretense for Russia to protect its interests outside of Crimea. - Bank of Japan released the minutes from its February meeting when it extended/expanded its 0.1% fixed rate lending scheme. Most members agree economy remains on recovery path and that the loans measure would further help escape from deflation, but were also quick to point out that it should not be taken as adjustment of key policy. Recall the rally after that decision was widely attributed to perception that the BOJ is signalling it is prepared to undergo more easing - a perception that was negated with this week's fairly neutral statement. USD/JPY hit a low of 101.60 in Asia, around the US-session lows, while Nikkei225 is leading regional markets to the downside with a 3% slump below 14,400, also its 3-week lows. ***Fixed Income/Commodities/Currencies*** - (AU) Australia MoF (AOFM) sells A$800M in 6.0% 2017 Bonds; avg yield: 2.8861%; bid-to-cover: 4.85x - JGB: (JP) Japan's MoF sells 2.46T in 0.2% (0.2% prior) 5-yr notes; Avg yield: 0.204% v 0.185% prior; Bid to cover: 3.81x v 4.07x prior - (JP) BOJ offers to purchase 2.0T in T-bills effective Mar 18th - GLD: SPDR Gold Trust ETF daily holdings rise 2.1 tonnes to 813.3 tonnes (highest since 814.1 on Dec 20th) - USD/CNY: (CN) PBoC sets yuan mid point at 6.1346 (weakest Yuan setting since Dec 3rd) v 6.1320 prior setting - (US) Weekly Fed Balance Sheet Total Assets Week ending Mar 12th: $4.18T v $4.17T prior; Reserve Bank Credit: $4.14T v $4.13T prior; M1: +$103.6B (4-week high) v +$14.8B prior; M2: -$13.9B (biggest decline in 3 months) v -$8.2B prior; Foreign central bank holdings of US Treasuries: $2.86T (***LOWEST holdings since $2.85T in Dec 2012) v $2.96T w/w; M1 y/y change: 9.3% (5-month high) v 8.8% w/w; M2 y/y change: 5.7% v 5.6% w/w ***Equities*** US markets: - ULTA: Reports Q4 $1.09 v $1.07e, R$868M v $856Me; +7.7% afterhours - MFRM: Reports Q4 $0.30 v $0.29e, R$312.1M v $312Me; +6.2% afterhours - BP: Said to have reached administrative agreement with the EPA - financial press; +0.9% afterhours - ZUMZ: Reports Q4 $0.71 adj v $0.61e, R$226.8M v $227Me; to repurchase up to additional $30M in common stock (approx 4% of market cap); -2.8% afterhours - NSTG: Study shows precision, reproducibility of PAM50-Based Prosigna Breast Cancer Assay in Multiple Clinical Testing Laboratories - update; -2.8% afterhours - BODY: Delays 2013 annual report filing; Guides Q4 R$66M v $75Me - NT 10K filing; -6.7% afterhours - ARO: Reports Q4 -$0.35 (ex items) v -$0.30e, R$670M v $699Me; -11.9% afterhours Notable movers by sector: - Financials: China Investment Holdings 132.HK -4.7% (FY13 results); China Development Bank International Investment 1062.HK +9.1% (positive profit alert); Northeast Securities 000686.CN +7.7% (FY13 results); New World Development 17.HK -13.7% (issues rights shares); New World China Land 917.HK +28.8% (privatization plan); Ping An Insurance 2318.HK -2.1% (FY13 results) - Materials: POSCO 005490.KR -0.9% (CEO comments); China Polymetallic Mining 2133.HK -11.7% (FY13 results); Adelaide Brighton Limited ABC.AU -10.6% (potential loss of key customers) - Industrials: Sino-Ocean Land 3377.HK -1.5% (FY13 results); Zhangjiagang Furui Special Equipment 300228.CN +6.1% (Q1 guidance); Changshu Tianyin Electromechanical 300342.CN -10.0% (FY13 results; negative Q1 guidance); Leighton Holdings LEI.AU -2.9% (may face write-downs) - Technology: Shenzhen H&T Intelligent Control 002402.CN +3.4% (FY13 results) - Healthcare: Town Health International Investments 3886.HK +2.5% (positive profit alert); Tianjin Ringpu Bio-Technology 300119.CN +4.3% (FY123 results); Xizang Haisco Pharmaceutical Group 002653.CN +3.5% (FY13 results) - Source


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