Singapore, Oct 5 (AP/UNB) — Asian markets were mostly lower on Friday after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence claimed China had meddled with its midterm elections to unsettle the Trump administration, which Beijing has denied.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent to 23,784.64, and the Kospi in South Korea dropped 0.6 percent to 2,261.89. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent to 26,512.16. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 6,193.30. Stocks fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. Markets in Chinese mainland were closed for a national holiday.
WALL STREET: A sell-off in U.S. Treasury bonds, particularly longer term ones, sent interest rates sharply higher on Thursday. Fears that higher interest rates could eventually slow economic growth by making borrowing more expensive weighed on major U.S. indexes. The S&P 500 index gave up 0.8 percent to 2,901.61, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7 percent to 26,627.48. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 1.8 percent to 7,879.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was 1.5 percent lower at 1,646.91.
CHINESE MEDDLING: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused China of taking public and covert measures to interfere in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. This includes targeting Chinese tariffs to industries in states that are crucial to Trump, intimidating scholars, and coercing U.S. businesses to speak out against the Trump administration, he said. Pence charged that Russian influence operations in the U.S. "pales in comparison" to Chinese operations. "China wants a different American president," he said. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pence's allegations were "groundless." Separately, Bloomberg reported that China had inserted tiny chips into computer equipment manufactured for the U.S. to steal its technology secrets, citing corporate and government sources. Apple has dismissed the report.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Risk sentiments remain fragile, especially with overnight news about China's tiny chip hack and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's tough words on China's alleged interference in U.S. politics, which could point to a further escalation of the ongoing US-China trade war," said Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 47 cents to $74.80 a barrel. The contract lost 2.7 percent to settle at $74.33 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 37 cents to $84.95 per barrel. It shed 2 percent to $84.58 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 113.91 yen from 113.86 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1506 from $1.1515.
Dhaka, Oct 4 (UNB) - Delta Medical College in Dhaka on Wednesday received a brand new car after one of its officials bought two air-conditioners from Walton and registered those under Walton’s ongoing Digital Campaign season-3.
The medical college is the second recipient of a new car after local electronics giant Walton launched its new digital campaign to make its after-sales service swifter and easier for customers.
Earlier on September 20, a retail tea seller in Chuadanga got another car after purchasing a Walton television and registering it under Digital Campaign.
The new car was handed over to a representative of Delta Medical College on Thursday at Walton Corporate Office in city.
Eva Rezwana, Executive Director of Walton and Imdadul Haq Milon, Editor, Daily Kaler Kantho, also a novelist, handed over the key of the car to Md. Sala Uddin, Secretary, Delta Medical College, who received it on behalf of his institution.
Walton Group Executive Directors Amdadul Hoque Sarker, Md. Humayun Kabir, Md. Rayhan, Additional Operative Director Dr. Md. Shakhawat Hossen, General Manager (Accounts and Finance) of Delta Medical College Md. Mujibur Rahman, Internal Auditor Md. Nasir Uddowla and Accounts Officer Shawkat Iqbal were among others present on the occasion.
Nasir Uddowla said, he went to Walton Plaza in Mirpur-1 to buy two air-conditioners for Delta Medical College on Wednesday. After purchasing a 2-ton and another 1.5-ton AC, he registered the products using his official cell phone number and instantly received an SMS announcing him as the lucky winner of a new car from Walton. He immediately informed it to higher authority.
Mujibur Rahman, GM, (Accounts and Finance) to Delta Medical College said, they earlier purchased at least 10 refrigerators, 12 air-conditioners and 2 television sets from Walton which are providing excellent service for which the trusty board of the institution strongly recommended to buy electronics products from Walton.
According to them, Walton is a local brand and its products are excellent in quality but affordable in prices. He said, the new car will serve the transportation section of the institution.
According to Walton, the local brand is conducting ‘Digital Campaign’ across the country to accelerate the initiative of building customers database for delivering online-based swift and best aftersales service to the customers. Prior to Season-3, Walton conducted the campaign’s Season 1 from April 1 to June 30 and the Season-2 from July 1 to August 30 this year. In these previous campaign seasons, six customers got brand new cars, four received air tickets to USA and Russia while many other customers got motorcycles, air-conditioners, televisions or sure cash back.
Bangkok, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — European shares followed Asian markets lower Thursday after yields on U.S. Treasury bonds surged to multi-year highs as U.S. central bank officials expressed confidence in the staying power of the current expansion.
KEEPING SCORE: The DAX in Germany lost 0.3 percent to 12,247.20 while in France the CAC 40 sank 0.8 percent to 5,450.10. Britain's FTSE 100 also tumbled 0.8 percent, to 7,448.91. The S&P future contact dropped 0.6 percent to 2,914.20 and the contract for the Dow lost 0.5 percent to 26,732.00, auguring a dismal start for Wall Street.
ASIA'S DAY: India's Sensex tumbled 2.2 percent to 35,237.49 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sank 1.7 percent to 26,623.87. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6 percent to 23,975.32, while the Kospi in South Korea sank 1.5 percent to 2,274.49. Australia alone posted gains, as the S&P ASX 200 jumped 0.5 percent to 6,176.30. India's Sensex lost 1.8 percent to 35,332.22. Shares also fell in Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Markets in mainland China are closed for a weeklong holiday.
INDIAN SELL-OFF: Shares sank in India on concerns over continued weakness in the rupee and over the country's trade deficit thanks to surging costs for oil imports. Reports said the commerce minister planned to convene a meeting Thursday to discuss the problem. The rupee was trading at 73.71 to a U.S. dollar after hitting a record low of 73.81. The currency has lost 15 percent this year.
BONDS SURGE: The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note spiked to its highest level in more than seven years and was hovering at 3.22 percent during the Asian trading day. The surge in bond yields to multi-year highs has been driven by U.S. interest rate hikes, buttressed by bullish commentary from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and other U.S. central bank officials.
ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Asian stocks are not faring so well which is not so untypical when the U.S. dollar strengthened markedly versus Asian currencies, notably vs the (Chinese) yuan, which is a crucial bellwether of local sentiment," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 13 cents to $76.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 1.6 percent to settle at $76.41 a barrel in New York. U.S. crude has hit four-year highs this week. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 14 cents to $86.15 per barrel. It rose 1.8 percent to $86.29 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 114.32 from 114.48 yen. The euro was flat at $1.1475.
Tokyo, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Japan's No. 1 automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and technology giant SoftBank Group Corp. are setting up a joint venture to create mobility services in what they called a "united Japan" effort to face global competition.
The venture, Monet Technologies Corp. is meant to be running by the end of March. It will work on on-demand vehicle services, food deliveries and hospital shuttles with onboard medical exams, the companies said Thursday in a news conference at a Tokyo hotel.
"This may look like an unusual combination," SoftBank's executive in charge of technology, Junichi Miyakawa, acknowledged, referring to the odd-couple union of an old-style manufacturer like Toyota with a relative newcomer like SoftBank. The energy and telecoms company's past tie-ups have tended to be with overseas startups.
"But Japan must compete with the rest of the world. That is why we are shaking hands today," Miyakawa said after shaking hands with his counterpart at Toyota, Shigeki Tomoyama.
Tomoyama said the joint venture will deliver services that combine Toyota's manufacturing know-how with SoftBank's technology prowess, which includes the Internet of Things, IoT, technology.
The services will roll out in Japan first, but a global expansion is in the works, the companies said.
Toyota is developing autonomous vehicles in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Monet plans to roll out a business featuring autonomous vehicle services by the second half of 2020, they said.
Automakers around the world are forming tie-ups in the race to develop the next-generation of transportation, such as self-driving cars.
Earlier this week, Toyota's Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. said it was investing $2.75 billion in GM Cruise, an autonomous-vehicle unit run by General Motors Co. of the U.S.
Geneva, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Alibaba founder Jack Ma said Tuesday that the trade dispute between the U.S. and China could last 20 years. But he expressed hope that a solution could be reached as a trade war would "hurt everybody."
The Chinese e-commerce billionaire also questioned the focus among some on trade deficits, calling it a relic of the 20th century. U.S. President Donald Trump has long decried the U.S.'s whopping deficit with China.
"When trade stops, sometimes the war starts. So trade is the way to stop wars," Ma said at a World Trade Organization seminar. "Trade is the way to build up trust. It's not the weapon to fight against each other."
He said trade conflict would not only hurt the U.S. and China but other countries' small businesses. The standoff, he added, "may last 20 years, unfortunately."
Overall, Ma expressed bullishness about trade, but said it needed to be protected from regulators.
"Today we see Made in China, Made in America, Made in Switzerland or Made in Geneva: 2030 will see Made in Internet." More than 85 percent of business will be e-commerce, he said.
Alibaba Group is the world's biggest e-commerce company by value of the goods that pass across its platforms.
A key part of its business is connecting American retailers with Chinese suppliers, many of them small producers of furniture, handbags, tools and household appliances. The United States is an important market for Chinese businesses and Washington's tariff increases have been a hit.
The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods, prompting retaliation from Beijing.
Ma, 54, is one of China's most prominent and outspoken business leaders. He announced last month he will step down as Alibaba's chairman next September but will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group that retains control of the company through their right to nominate a majority of its board of directors.