Arm Holdings CEO Rene Haas rings the Nasdaq opening bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite on September 14, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
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Major Asia benchmark indexes were mostly weaker Wednesday, as mainland China markets outperformed regional peers after industrial profits in August grew for the first time since the second half last year. The CSI 300 index climbed 0.3% and appears set for its first daily gain in three, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4% and Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.3% to its lowest since end-March. This follows the biggest single day loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average as the benchmark closed below its 200-day moving day average Tuesday after the latest home sales and consumer confidence reports stoked concern over the state of the U.S. economy.
Higher, not just longer
JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon has warned interest rates could go up quite a bit further as policymakers face the prospects of elevated inflation and slow growth. “I am not sure if the world is prepared for 7%,” he told The Times of India in an interview. Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari sees a 40% chance of “meaningfully higher” interest rates. These comments come less than a week after Fed officials, in their quarterly economic update, indicated they could approve another quarter percentage point increase by the end of the year before beginning to cut a few times in 2024.
Hollywood writers and studios have finalized the language of a tentative contract that will lead to the end of a nearly 150-day labor strike, though there isn’t a deal for actors yet. Leaders from the Writers Guild of America voted unanimously to end the strike on Wednesday. Writers were able to gain significant protections against the use of artificial intelligence. Under the agreement, AI cannot write or rewrite literary material and AI-generated material will not be considered source material.
Alibaba unit IPO
Alibaba plans to list its logistics unit Cainiao in Hong Kong, the Chinese e-commerce giant said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. It’s the first to announce listing plans after one of the most radical shake-ups in Alibaba’s history. The company split its structure into six business units, and hopes most of them will be able to raise outside funds and go public.
World’s fastest growing economy
Guyana, a country in South America with a population of about 800,000 people, is projected to grow 38% by the end of the year — an “extremely fast” pace, according to recent GDP forecasts by the International Monetary Fund. It may be on track to grow by more than 100% by 2028, largely fueled by profits from its oil production and export sector.
[PRO] Forget India
India’s growth prospects have seen many investors and big-name banks turn bullish on the country, but portfolio manager Kamil Dimmich says he’s steering clear because India looks very expensive right now, even considering the fact that it has traditionally been priced higher than other emerging markets. Another market in Asia offers better value — and it’s not China.
With the economic outlook looking uncertain, will technology names continue to be the gift that keeps on giving?
Financial markets have gone into a tailspin as U.S. Treasury yields spiked since U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed could approve another quarter percentage point increase by the end of the year before beginning to cut a few times in 2024.
The prognosis seems more dire, with JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari adding to the bearish undertones Tuesday. Despite the Fed’s official guidance, they are suggesting that more interest rate hikes may be lurking.
Tech-related names, particularly those in the artificial intelligence space, have been some of the more eye-catching outperformers this year — so how do investors refine their thinking on the sector?
“We’re starting to think that the model of a successful tech company in 2023 … the optimal size is probably not that big,” Herman Narula, chief executive of the Softbank-backed virtual reality startup Improbable, told CNBC. “You probably want to be thinking about much smaller companies overall.”
Improbable said it reduced losses by 85% in 2022, a year that saw the company pivot its focus to powering new “metaverse” experiences. Narula said Improbable has managed to ship more products with fewer people, thanks to advances in generative artificial intelligence.
Will productivity gains be manifest in upcoming tech-related names?
Alibaba logistics unit Cainiao’s planned IPO in Hong Kong could attract robust interest simply due to its association with the Chinese tech giant and international growth. Alibaba has also previously said it hopes to list its cloud business, though nothing has been publicly announced yet.
Tech, with its inherent pioneering promise, is often thought to offer the best hope against the lack of clarity on the future. That may seem like the case in this moment, but it doesn’t hurt to look more deeply.