Asia markets set for a mixed start to the year, China factory activity slumps further

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China factory activity contraction deepened in December

China’s manufacturing activity contracted further in December 2023, in a sign that more policy support was likely needed to revive its economy.

Official data released over the weekend showed China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index was at 49 in December, contracting for the third straight month and more than a Reuters poll forecast of 49.5.

A PMI reading below 50 signifies a contraction.

December’s PMI was also the sharpest contraction in manufacturing since June 2023, falling further from a November reading of 49.40.

The Caixin manufacturing survey for December is due later in the day.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

An Hour Ago

Australia’s factory activity contracts at fastest pace since May 2020: Judo Bank

Australia’s factory activity in December saw its sharpest contraction since May 2020, according to private surveys from Judo Bank.

The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slid to 47.6 in December, down from 47.7 in November and marking its 10th straight month of contraction.

In its release, the bank wrote that this was mainly due to a further deterioration in demand from the country’s manufacturing sector, with incoming new orders for Australian manufactured goods falling for a 13th straight month.

This was because of soft economic conditions and pressure from high interest rates, with the bank adding that foreign demand was also subdued.

— Lim Hui Jie

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CNBC Pro: Time to invest in alternative assets? The pros aren’t so sure

From family offices to financial advisors and beyond, interest in alternative assets appears to be growing — but the pros appear mixed on whether retail investors should get invested.

For Caesar Sengupta, CEO of financial services firm Arta Finance, there is “incredible value in private markets” and the assets shouldn’t be overlooked.

Elsewhere, Saxo’s chief investment officer Steen Jakobsen argues that retail investors need to err on the side of caution when dabbling in alternatives.

“I think you need to be more than a private retail investor to go into these — my advice is don’t buy it, even if it’s priced to perfection,” he said, adding what asset classes he is bullish on for 2024.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

An Hour Ago

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs says these 3 Big Oil companies ‘screen as attractive’ – giving one 33% upside

Energy stocks may have had a tough year, but Goldman Sachs sees promise in European Big Oil – naming integrated oil stocks to play the theme in the new year.

“We are currently at a turning point as EU Big Oils started to outperform U.S. Big Oils, to potentially close their 40% valuation gap against their U.S. peers,” the investment bank’s analysts said.

The investment bank’s positive outlook on Big Oil comes even oil prices were pushed up as major shipping lines and oil transporters suspended travel through the Red Sea. The 2024 outlook for oil has also been underwhelming, with the International Energy Agency expecting the slowdown to continue next year.

Even so, Goldman noted that “EU Big Oils now screen as attractive thanks to enhanced buyback programs, leading to double digit cash returns to shareholders,” naming its top picks to play.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

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