Most Asia markets clock weekly losses, South Korea leads declines

Fri, Jan 5 2024 1:11 AM EST

India’s December services activity grows at fastest pace in three months

Employees work on their terminals inside the office of Manubhai & Shah LLP, a local accounting firm, in Ahmedabad, India, July 4, 2023.

Amit Dave | Reuters

India’s services activity grew at its fastest pace in three months in December, according to a private survey.

The HSBC India Services PMI came in at 59.0 for December, up from 56.9 in the prior month and the highest since September.

“Demand buoyancy spurred sales, subsequently fueling business activity. Job creation extended into a nineteenth successive month, while business optimism strengthened,” according to the survey report.

The December reading also marked the 29th straight month of expansion. A reading above 50 separates growth from contraction.

The Nifty 50 index had gained 0.14% by early afternoon trading.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Thu, Jan 4 2024 10:52 PM EST

Philippine December inflation hits near 2-year lows

Philippine Inflation in December cooled at a faster pace than the month before, according to official data.

Consumer prices rose 3.9% in December, lower than the 4.1% increase in the prior month. It was also the slowest pace of price increases since since February 2022, and the the third straight easing in CPI.

Inflation is still, however, higher than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ target range of 2%-4%.

“The downtrend in the overall inflation in December 2023 was primarily brought about by the lower year-on-year growth in the index of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 1.5 percent in December 2023 from 2.5 percent in the previous month,” according to the official release.

—  Shreyashi Sanyal

Thu, Jan 4 2024 8:27 PM EST

Japan December composite PMI signals contraction in private sector activity is over

A survey showed on Friday that the contraction in Japan’s private sector activity was over.

The au Jibun Bank Japan composite PMI for December came in at 50, rising from 49.6 in the prior month to signal stabilization in Japan’s private sector output.

A PMI reading above 50 signifies expansion, while numbers below that show contraction.

December saw higher services sector growth, but manufacturing activity continued to slow.

The au Jibun Bank Japan services PMI was at 51.5 in December, up from 50.8 in November. The expansion was the second-weakest recorded in 2023.

“A faster rise in new business was a key factor in driving business activity growth higher, as firms cited increased customer numbers,” the survey said.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index edged 0.3% higher on Friday.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Thu, Jan 4 2024 7:15 PM EST

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Thu, Jan 4 2024 7:15 PM EST

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— Ganesh Rao

Thu, Jan 4 2024 3:22 PM EST

Oil prices fall as U.S. fuel inventory build up overshadows Mideast tensions

Oil prices fell on Thursday as a huge U.S. fuel inventory buildup overshadowed worries about supply disruptions from mounting tensions in the Middle East.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for February lost 51 cents, or .7%, to settle at $72.19 a barrel. The Brent contract for March shed 66 cents, or .84%, to settle at $77.59 a barrel.

U.S. gasoline stocks increased by 10.9 million barrels to 237 million barrels total for the week ending Dec. 29, according to data from the Energy Information Agency. Motor fuel supplied to the market, an indicator of demand, fell by 1.2 million barrels per day to nearly 8 million barrels per day total.

The U.S. inventory build shifted focus away from mounting tensions in the Middle East. Crude prices rose more than 2% on Wednesday as militant attacks disrupt shipping in the Red Sea and a Libyan oilfield was shutdown due to protests.

— Spencer Kimball

Thu, Jan 4 2024 1:25 PM EST

Wells Fargo’s Christopher Harvey points to investor repositioning as reason for market pullback

After a tremendous year-end rally in 2023, equities have struggled out the gate to start 2024.

Wells Fargo analyst Christopher Harvey pointed to investor reshuffling as the reason behind the latest market pullback.

“The market is two for two this year and many are trying to divine the meaning,” he wrote in a Thursday note. “The evidence points to a hangover from year end hedge fund repositioning supporting our 2024 risk aversion bias.”

— Lisa Kailai Han

Thu, Jan 4 2024 8:16 AM EST

ADP report shows stronger than expected job growth in December

Private payroll growth topped estimates for growth in December, according to an ADP report Thursday showing a still-vibrant labor market.

Companies added 164,000 for the month, better than the downwardly revised 101,000 for December and the 130,000 estimate from Dow Jones. Leisure and hospitality led the way with 59,000 new jobs while construction added 24,000. Small businesses were the biggest job creators, as those with fewer than 50 employees added 74,000.

The reports comes a day ahead of the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls release, which is expected to show an increase of 170,000.

—Jeff Cox

Thu, Jan 4 2024 8:40 AM EST

Jobless claims total 202,000, well below estimate

The pace of layoffs decelerated in the final full week of 2023, a sign that the labor market is still tight, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 30 totaled 202,000, a decline of 18,000 from the previous period and below the Dow Jones estimate for 219,000. The four-week moving average, which accounts for weekly volatility, declined to 207,750, a drop of 4,750.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind, fell by 31,000 to 1.855 million, below the FactSet estimate for 1.878 million.

—Jeff Cox



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