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Asia-Pacific stocks trade mixed after losses on Wall Street

Indonesia and Indian currencies not considered to benefit from China’s reopening: ANZ

Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee have lagged behind other emerging market currencies: ANZ Bank

Unlike other emerging market currencies, both the Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee have not gained much from China’s reopening, said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Bank.

These currencies have “lagged the movements … because both of these economies are not seen as big beneficiaries of China’s reopening,” Goh told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

He added that Chinese tourists do not contribute much to India’s or Indonesia’s overall growth.

On the flip side, Goh said the Thai baht has been the strongest performing currency in Asia so far this year, and the Singapore dollar is one of his top recommendations for 2023.

— Charmaine Jacob

Asia-Pacific currencies mixed, Aussie dollar weakens

Asia-Pacific currencies strengthened in the afternoon on Thursday, a day after the Bank of Japan announced it would keep control of the yield curve unchanged.

The Japanese yen continued to gain further by 0.8% and was last traded at 127.89 against the US dollar.

The Korean won also gained nearly 0.4% as the country announced plans to scrap a mandatory registration process for foreign equity investors, a move seen to further encourage foreign investment.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, weakened more than 0.7% after employment data came in weaker than expected, signaling that the central bank’s interest rate hikes may slow due to a worsening labor market.

China’s reopening is a boon for Asia’s growth prospects, says Aberdeen

Asia’s outlook is more promising this year, thanks in large part to China’s sudden reopening, according to James Thom, senior investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“There’s a lot to be concerned about given all the global kind of concerns and issues. But I feel like Asia is gradually getting a little bit better. The outlook is improving, somewhat, at the beginning of this year,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

“Obviously, the China reopening is a huge swing factor in that very few expected or anticipated, and it’s going to be a real boon for growth and support for the markets,” Thom added.

He also highlighted that “the weakening of the US dollar in general, again, is helpful for Asian markets.”

– Sumathi Bala

Cryptocurrencies trade lower after Genesis plans to file for bankruptcy

Cryptocurrencies are trading lower as crypto lender Genesis prepares to file for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the matter.

Bitcoin was 2.51% lower at $20,742.39, according to data from Coin Metrics. Ether fell 3.66% to $1,522.93.

As recently as last week, Genesis, along with Gemini, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with allegedly selling unregistered securities in connection with a high-yield product offered to depositors.

Earlier this month, Genesis laid off 30% of its workforce.

– Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Veteran investor says ‘tech is dead,’ names safer stocks to weather ‘current storm’

After a rough 2022, some investors are flocking back to technology, but investment veteran Michael Landsberg is giving the sector a miss.

He favors safer sectors and shares the name of five companies he expects to ride out “the current storm.”

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Oil prices fall above a dollar as recession looms

Oil prices fell more than a dollar after a disappointing US retail sales reading raised fears of a recession.

Brent crude futures fell 1.21%, or $1.03, to $83.95 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate futures lost 1.38%, or $1.10, to $78.38 a barrel.

Retail sales in the US in December fell 1.1%, slightly more than the forecast of 1%.

– Lee Ying Shan

Australia’s unemployment rate is holding up, but jobs are taking a hit

Australia’s unemployment rate rose 3.5% in December, beating Reuters expectations for a 48-year low of 3.4%.

The figure compares with an unemployment rate of 3.4% for November.

However, employment figures for December plunged by 14,600, largely missing expectations for a growth of 22,500 and an increase of 64,000 for November.

– Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley’s Slimmon says stocks will ‘surprise’ Wall Street in 2023 – and names two he likes

Investment veteran Andrew Slimmon said he thinks stocks are going to do “far better” than most expect this year.

“I’m not so sure about the second half of this year, but I think the surprise is going to be that the stock market is going to do better earlier this year than was almost predicted by a lot of the sell-side strategists,” Slimmon said, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.

He also mentioned two of his favorite stocks.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Japan reports trade deficit for December

Japan recorded a trade deficit of 1.45 trillion yen ($11.27 billion) for the month of December, according to official data.

Japan’s December imports rose 20.6% from a year ago, slightly below Reuters’ expectations of 22.4%. Exports increased by 11.5% year-on-year, compared to an estimate of 10.1%.

The reading would cap a full year of trade deficits for Japan.

– Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: 2023 is going to be tough — but this ‘exceptional’ stock is rock solid, says fund manager

Many investors are bracing for a tough year ahead, with at least a mild recession looking likely.

Because of the “darkening” economic environment, fund manager Trent Masters of Alphinity Investment Management told CNBC Pro Talks that he picks stocks with one key quality: earnings resistance.

He mentions one “rock-solid” stock that meets that criterion.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Shares ended lower on Wednesday

All the major averages ended the day lower on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 613.89 points, or 1.81%. The S&P 500 lost 1.56% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.24%.

– Tanaya Machel

The Fed’s Master says “we must continue” with interest rate increases

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said Wednesday that interest rates must continue to move higher even with the latest inflation readings softening.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the politician said the Fed would likely have to take its benchmark interest rate above 5% to get inflation to move consistently down to the central bank’s 2% target. She noted that markets and the economy absorbed the half-point interest rate hike in December without a hitch.

“I just think we have to move on and we will discuss it [Jan. 31-Feb. 1] meeting how much we’re going to do at a particular meeting,” Mester said. “But my projections and my view of the economy is that we need to do more, we need to get above 5% and then keep it there for a while until we get inflation expectations very well anchored at 2% … and inflation on the downward path.”

The fed funds rate is currently targeted in a range between 4.25%-4.5%.

-Jeff Cox

Sales data for Christmas do not miss expectations

Holiday sales numbers came in lower than expected for 2022, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

The industry group said November and December sales were up 5.3% year-on-year. NRF had estimated growth between 6% and 8%.

The data does not include spending at car dealerships, gas stations and restaurants. The sales figures are not adjusted for inflation.

— Jesse Pound, Melissa Repko

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