China stocks pare declines after central bank holds rates; Taiwan stocks rise after

21 Mins Ago

Baidu shares tumble after Friday report that China’s military tested AI system on Ernie

Shares of Chinese tech firm Baidu slumped over 8% on Monday, following a report in the South China Morning Post that China’s military had tested its AI system on Baidu’s Ernie Bot, which uses large language models similar to ChatGPT.

The report, which came out late Friday, said that “Chinese scientists are teaching an experimental military artificial intelligence more about facing unpredictable human enemies with the help of ChatGPT-like technologies.”

Citing scientists involved in the project, SCMP reported that a research laboratory with the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Strategic Support Force tested the AI system on Baidu’s Ernie and iFlyTek’s Spark.

The PLASSF is the space, cyber, and electronic warfare force of the Chinese military.

In response to SCMP, Baidu said Saturday it “has no affiliation or other partnership with the academic institution in question.”

An Hour Ago

Taiwan stocks rise after China skeptic Lai Ching-te wins presidential race

Taiwan Vice President and presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party Lai Ching-te (center) greets supporters during his campaign motorcade tour in Kaohsiung on January 8, 2024, ahead of the presidential election.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

The Taiwan Weighted index started the week 0.5% higher after Lai Ching-te won the island’s presidential election on Saturday.

Lai helped secure the Democratic Progressive Party its third straight victory. Seen as a strong China skeptic, Lai won by more than 40% of the popular vote and said he was “determined to safeguard Taiwan from threats and intimidation from China.” 

Beijing, which has often labelled Lai as a “stubborn worker for Taiwan independence” and a dangerous separatist, dismissed his victory.

Lai has vowed to remain open-minded in his governing style, but his government is yet to form a parliamentary majority. His victory also sparked worries about frosty China-U.S. relations as well as security in the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Taiwan stocks rose over 26% in 2023, while China’s CSI 300 index fell over 11% last year.

2 Hours Ago

CNBC Pro: These are Wall Street’s top picks for semiconductor stocks this year

Semiconductor stocks had a good year in 2023, bouncing back from the post-pandemic underperformance of 2022.

The PHLX Semiconductor index (Sox) index surged 65% in 2023, well outpacing the S&P 500.

Banks such as BofA and UBS are still bullish on the semiconductor sector despite its strong run in 2023.

CNBC Pro scoured through recent Wall Street research in January to look for the top 2024 semiconductor picks that analysts named.

Subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

2 Hours Ago

Goldman Sachs says it’s time to buy this unloved global sector — and names some top stocks

Europe’s utilities sector may have come under pressure over the past three years, but Goldman Sachs says a shift is underway, naming stocks to play the industry in 2024.

“We believe that the improved outlook on inflation and interest rates is likely to favor capital intensive/long duration assets, such as Renewable Energy (where the capital cycle also appears to have positively inflected, as evidenced by rising returns) and Power Grids (where the market appears to be overlooking the incremental organic growth opportunities),” the bank’s analysts wrote.

The investment bank named a bunch of stocks it expects to rise by 30%.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

Fri, Jan 12 2024 3:26 PM EST

U.S. crude prices fade after spiking on strikes against Houthi militants

U.S. crude oil prices on Friday followed a familiar pattern in response to mounting Middle East tensions, briefly spiking on the latest escalation before fading later in the day.

West Texas Intermediate futures briefly broke $75 a barrel after U.S. and British airstrike on Houthi militants in Yemen, put pulled back later in the session to settle $72.68. Brent futures broke $80 a barrel before settling at $78.29.

Several tanker companies on Friday halted traffic toward the Red Sea after the airstrikes. But traders still do not seem convinced that a broader Middle East conflict could erupt and disrupt crude supplies. Analysts say the Strait of Hormuz is the real potential flashpoint that could send prices higher.

“The market is going to wait to see whether we see this spread to a significant waterway for oil like the Strait of Hormuz,” Helima Croft with RBC Capital Markets told CNBC on Friday.

— Spencer Kimball

Fri, Jan 12 2024 8:36 AM EST

PPI falls unexpectedly in December

The producer price index was dipped 0.1% in December, a sign that inflation may be easing. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 0.1%.

— Fred Imbert

Fri, Jan 12 2024 11:05 AM EST

Citigroup announces job cuts after posting $1.8 billion fourth-quarter loss

Shares of Citigroup were fractionally higher on Friday after CEO Jane Fraser announced a new wave of job cuts to boost the bank’s stock price and earnings results.

Citigroup said that 20,000 employees, or around 10% of its workforce, would be let go in the “medium term” as part of a new corporate overhaul. Shares had earlier gained nearly 2% on the back of the news.

The layoff announcement was made after the bank posted a $1.8 billion loss in its fourth-quarter, which was tied to various risks and expenses. The company’s fourth-quarter revenue came in at $17.44 billion, lower than the $18.75 billion expected by analysts polled by LSEG.

— Lisa Kailai Han

Fri, Jan 12 2024 7:29 AM EST

JPMorgan Chase shares rise even after profit decline

JPMorgan Chase shares were up more than 2% in the premarket even after the bank reported a fourth-quarter profit decline due to a $2.9 billion fee related to last year’s regional bank failures.

Specifically, the bank said earnings dropped 15% to 9.31 billion on a year-over-year basis.

— Fred Imbert, Hugh Son

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