Markets were mixed in Asia on Monday, with Japan's benchmark slipping 0.8% after the government reported the economy contracted 6.3% in annual terms in the last quarter. China's shares got a boost after the central bank stepped in to help the economy with a rate cut, extra buying of securities and tax cuts.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo was at 23,507.63 by late morning, while Sydney's S&P ASX/200 edged 1% lower to 7,120.00. South Korea's Kospi was flat, at 2,242.50, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.5% to 27,953.73.
The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.3% to 2,955.07 after the central bank and finance minister announced a slew of measures to support the economy as the country battles an outbreak of a new virus that has killed 1,770 people and infected nearly 70,000.
Shares fell in Taiwan and were flat in Bangkok and Jakarta.
The contraction in the Japanese economy, the world's third-largest, reflected the impact of typhoons, trade tensions and crimped consumer spending. The seasonally adjusted economic data was announced as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces pressure over spreading cases of the new viral illness COVID-19 and markets around the region see a mounting toll from its impact on travel and tourism as authorities strive to contain it.
"Consumer spending, which slumped following the tax hike in the fourth quarter of 2019, will now struggle to do anything except contract further in the first quarter as the impact of Covid-19 weighs on consumer sentiment, weighing in particular on the consumer services sector," ING said in a report.
"Some further government spending may help to curb any further contraction in GDP beyond 1Q20. But that will not stop what started off as a technical downturn from evolving into a full-blown recession," it said.
Thailand and Singapore also reported weak growth in the last quarter of 2019, in figures that like Japan's do not yet reflect the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.
But good news came in the form of fresh help from the People's Bank of China, which cut its one-year medium-term lending rate to 3.15% from 3.25%. The central bank also injected some 200 billion yuan ($28.6 billion) and conducted 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) in reverse repos, in effect putting more cash into the market through short-term purchases of securities.
Such moves will likely be followed by still more, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, given that many of the companies worst affected by the virus outbreak are smaller ones that lack access to loans from major state-run banks.
"We think the PBOC will need to expand its re-lending quotas and relax constraints on shadow banking in order to direct more credit to struggling SMEs," Evans-Pritchard said in a commentary.
Wall Street closed out a wobbly day of trading Friday with the major stock indexes notching their second straight weekly gain. Though trading was mostly subdued and cautious following China's report Thursday of a surge in cases of a new virus that raised fresh concerns about global economic growth.
The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% to 3,380.16. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.2%, to 9,731.18. Both indexes were lower for most of the afternoon. The Dow dropped 0.1%, to 29,398.08. The Russell 2000 index slid 0.4%, to 1,687.58.
Technology companies led the gainers Friday. Chipmaker Nvidia was a standout, jumping 7% after it handily beat analysts' profit forecasts for the fourth quarter.
The real estate and utilities sectors also held up well as government bond yields fell, making companies that pay higher dividends more attractive. Digital Realty Trust climbed 3.9% and American Water Works rose 1.7%.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 1.59% from 1.58% late Friday.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 5 cents to $52.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed 1.2% higher on Friday, notching its first weekly gain in six weeks. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 15 cents to $57.17 a barrel.
The slide in oil prices has weighed on energy stocks. The sector is the biggest loser in the S&P 500, down 10.2% so far this year.
More than three quarters of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings and the results so far show solid growth. Companies are expected to report overall profit growth of just under 1% when all the reports are in, according to estimates from FactSet.
Several big companies are on deck to report results next week. Walmart will release its report on Tuesday and Deere will report on Friday.
On Wednesday, the government will issue its report on producer prices, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers and there will be updates on the health of the housing industry. The Federal Reserve will release minutes from its January meeting.
In other commodities trading, gold lost 70 cents to $1,585.70 per ounce, silver rose 10 cents to $17.83 per ounce and copper fell 1 cent to $2.61 per pound.
The dollar rose to 109.81 Japanese yen from 109.77 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.0833 from $1.0839.
A German court has temporarily halted the site preparation for Tesla Inc.'s first electric car factory in Europe.
The Higher Administrative Court for Berlin-Brandenburg ordered Tesla to stop clearing trees on the wooded site near Berlin until it considers an environmental group's appeal. In a statement Sunday, the court said it had to issue the injunction because otherwise Tesla might have completed the work over the next three days.
A lower court in Germany ruled last week that Tesla could clear the trees for its factory. But the environmental group Green League Brandenburg appealed, citing the potential for the factory to pollute the area's drinking water and other issues. In its statement, the higher court said there is no reason to assume that the Green League's appeal won't succeed.
German officials celebrated in November when Palo Alto, California-based Tesla decided to build its first European factory in the country. Tesla said the new plant will build batteries and vehicles, starting with the upcoming Model Y SUV. The company had hoped to complete the factory in the middle of next year.
Last month, German officials said 187 pounds of World War II ammunition had been found at the site as Tesla began clearing it.
Tesla has two other vehicle factories in the U.S. and China.
Marcel, a local electronics manufacturer has recently declared TV exchange facility - ‘TV Adol Badol Offer’ for its the domestic buyers.
As per the offer, customers can buy Marcel brand’s new LED, LED smart and Smart Voice Control TV by exchanging their old CRT, LCD or LED TV of any brand. In exchange of, customers will enjoy Tk 2000 to Tk 9,000 discounts on the regular prices of the respective Marcel TV. The TV exchange offer came into effect on February 10.
In addition, customers might get lucrative cash back, ranging from Tk 2,910 to Tk 8,000, by purchasing and registering LED and smart TV from any Marcel showroom under the local brand’s nationwide ongoing campaign titled ‘Sera Dame Sera TV Season-2’ until February 29.
Under the exchange offer, customers were being offered Tk 19,500 worth 32-inch Smart TV at discounted price Tk 16,900; Tk 27,900 worth 39-inch Smart TV at Tk 19,500 and Tk 31,900 worth 43-inch Smart TV at Tk 28,400.
Besides, customers could exchange their used or faulty televisions with Marcel brand’s 508 mm or 20-inch LED TV at discounted price Tk 8,900; 610 mm or 24-inch LED TV at Tk 9,900; 32-inch LED TV at Tk 13,600; 39-inch LED TV at Tk 20,490 and 43-inch LED TV at Tk 23,990.
Under the Marcel TV campaign season-2, customers may get 24-inch LED TV at Tk 8,990; 32-inch LED at Tk 11,990; Smart TV at 15,990 and Smart Voice Control TV at
with 1.09 meter or 43-inch TV at Tk 38,900 against the market price of Tk 43,900 13,600 against its market price of Tk 16,500Tk 10,900 worth 508 millimeter (mm) brand new Marcel LED TV at Tk 8,900; 610 mm LED TV at Tk 9,900 instead of its regular price of Tk 11,990; 813 mm LED TV at Tk 13,600 against its market price of Tk 16,500 and 813 mm Smart TV at Tk 18,900 against the regular price of Tk 21,900; 39-inch LED TV at 15,990 and Smart TV at Tk 23,990; 43-inch LED TV 19,990 and Smart TV at 27,990.
Marcel’s Head of Sales Dr Md Shakhawat Hossen said that Marcel is now manufacturing advanced, eco-friendly and world-class televisions in its own factory.
Marcel TV’s Chief Executive Officer Engineer Mostafa Nahid Hossain said Marcel’s Smart Voice Control TV is featured with Bangla, English and Hindi search options.
bKash, a mobile financial service, has distributed books among underprivileged children at Amar Ekushey Book Fair on Sunday.
Ruku, Munni, Asma, Rajib, Ankhi and others from Mirpur branch of the underprivileged children's school Obhizatrik came to the book fair and received their books.
bKash handed over the books to these students at its book collection booth.
Through Obhizatrik Foundation, bKash will provide 5,000 books to various institutions including underprivileged children's schools, primary schools, libraries and old-age homes.
There is an option for readers at the fair to participate in this book giving programme. Anyone can donate new or old books at the book collection booth.
Chief Marketing Officer of bKash Mir Nawbut Ali said, “There’s no alternative to reading books for enlightenment. It’s more important for children to build a future. We’ll be able to provide more books to the readers, including underprivileged children, if we can collect a good number of books from people visiting the fair.”
Ahmed Imtiaz Jami, founder of Obhizatrik Foundation said the school for the underprivileged children lacks a well-equipped library, noting that it would be really helpful if the people come forward.
Apart from the book giving programme, bKash is offering 10 percent instant cashback on payment while purchasing books throughout the fair. Any customer can avail maximum cashback of Tk 300 during the campaign period.
Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of more than 150 industry associations, has urged the Trump administration to remove all additional tariffs, as the China-U.S. phase-one economic and trade agreement takes effect on Friday.
"It's encouraging to see some of the Phase One Deal come to fruition. American businesses, farmers, consumers, and workers certainly need these (tariff) reductions, as they have been paying the price for these tariffs since the trade war began," Jonathan Gold, spokesperson for Americans for Free Trade, said in a statement on Friday.
As part of the China-U.S. phase-one trade deal signed last month, the U.S. government has agreed to cut additional tariffs on roughly 120 billion U.S. dollars worth of Chinese products from 15 percent to 7.5 percent.
China also announced last week that it would halve rates of additional tariffs on 75 billion dollars worth of U.S. products. Both of those tariff modifications are set to take effect on Friday.
"While this progress is a good first step, the administration must negotiate a Phase Two Deal that completely lifts all tariffs," Gold said.
An unnamed Chinese official with the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council also said last week that "it is our hope that both sides will work together toward ultimately removing all additional tariffs."
Multiple researches by American economists have showed that additional tariffs imposed by the United States against its major trading partners since early 2018 have led to higher prices, ultimately hurting the overall U.S. economy.
Overall, Americans have paid an additional 50 billion dollars in tariffs since February 2018 through December 2019, according to new data released by anti-tariff campaign group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland on Monday.
The U.S. trade coalition's statement came after a survey showed Thursday that members of the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) overwhelmingly view the China-U.S. phase-one trade deal as positive for the commercial environment and bilateral relations.
Among those with a positive view, the majority believes the agreement stabilizes their bilateral relationship and prevents imminent imposition of new tariffs, according to the USCBC, which represents over 200 U.S. companies that do businesses in China.