Singapore, Jan 3 (AP/UNB) — Asian markets were mixed on Thursday after tumbling more than 1 percent on the first trading day of 2019. Apple downgraded its sales projections, citing slowing Chinese growth, hitting technology shares in South Korea and Taiwan. The Japanese yen, seen as a relatively safe asset, strengthened against the dollar, euro and several other Asian and European currencies.
KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,007.06 and Taiwan's benchmark fell 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,465.36, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.3 percent at 25,058.69. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 rebounded 1.4 percent to 5,632.80. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore but rose in Indonesia and the Philippines. Japan's markets were closed.
WALL STREET: A turbulent day on Wall Street saw stocks plunging before recovering and finishing slightly higher. Surveys by the China's government and a major business magazine that showed Chinese manufacturing had slowed in December weighed on sentiment. Still, the broad S&P 500 index added 0.1 percent to 2,510.03 on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lost 398 points in the first few minutes of trading, closed 0.1 percent higher at 23,346.24. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.5 percent to 6,665.94. The Dow future contract was down 1.4 percent early Thursday and that for the S&P 500 lost 1.3 percent.
APPLE RELEASE: Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to shareholders released after markets closed on Wednesday that he expects the tech giant's revenue for the October-December quarter to fall below internal and analysts' projections. Apple now expects revenue of $84 billion for the quarter, about 9 percent lower than the $91.3 billion estimate from analysts polled by FactSet. The official results will be released on Jan. 29. Cook attributed most of the revenue drop to China, where the economy has been slowing and where U.S. tariffs have been raised on more than $200 billion in goods, although the iPhone hasn't been affected directly so far. The company's shares fell 7.6 percent to $146 in after-hours trading.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "A flight to safety following the series of aggravating releases since the turn of the year saw the rush into the yen this morning. Doubling down on Asia markets for a second day today would be the latest downward revision in Q1 guidance from tech giant, Apple," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a market commentary. "The already shaky foundation for Apple owing to the likelihood of the company's products being enlisted into the tariffs scuffle saw their latest move to lower revenue outlook packing a punch for share prices," she added.
ENERGY: Oil prices, which have fallen about 40 percent since last October, settled after jumping at the start of the year. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 83 cents to $45.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped 2.5 percent to $46.54 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 43 cents to $54.48 per barrel. It added 2.1 percent to $54.91 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 107.16 yen from 108.86 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1366 from $1.1344.
Beijing, Jan 2 (AP/UNB) — Asian stock markets tumbled Wednesday as 2019 trading began, after surveys showed Chinese manufacturing weakening.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 percent to 2,465.29 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.6 percent to 25,161.03. Japan's markets were closed. Seoul's Kospi lost 1.3 percent to 2,013.80 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.9 percent to 5,593.80. Manila advanced while Singapore and Jakarta retreated. New Zealand was closed.
CHINESE FACTORIES: Surveys by China's government and a major business magazine showed activity weakened in December as global and domestic demand cooled. Forecasters said that could send shockwaves through Asian economies that supply Chinese factories with raw materials and components. Chinese export growth has held up as producers rushed to fill orders before possible new U.S. tariff hikes in Washington's trade battle with Beijing, but forecasters said that effect may be fading.
ANALYST'S COMMENT: The Chinese manufacturing downturn "raises a few red flags," said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. The slide is "not entirely surprising given more challenging global trade conditions," but it is "potentially symptomatic of far sharper underlying demand pullback," said Varathan. China's trade and investment ties with its neighbors mean the slowdown "will reverberate more widely to other Asian exporters."
CURRENCY: The dollar edged down to 109.36 yen from Monday's 109.67. The euro declined to $1.1446 from $1.1466.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 41 cents to $45.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 8 cents on Monday to close at $45.41. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slumped 53 cents to $53.27 per barrel in London. It added 59 cents the previous session to close at $53.80.
Washington, Jan 1 (AP/UNB)- Ivanka Trump is set to launch a White House effort aimed at women's global economic empowerment in early 2019.
A formal launch for the initiative was planned for next week but has been postponed amid uncertainty about the government shutdown, the White House said Monday. The original plan for the event included remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, as well as from officials from a host of government agencies, financial organizations and private businesses, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Walmart and Bank of America.
The initiative, which is backed by the State Department and the National Security Council, seeks to align government agencies behind the mission of supporting women's economic development around the world. It will also include private-sector investment. First daughter Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser who has made supporting women in business part of her portfolio, led the policy process over the past year and a half.
"I look forward to continuing to work with the interagency and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advance women's access to vocational training, fuel female entrepreneurship and lift legal and social barriers that restrict our full and free economic participation," Ivanka Trump said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Bolton said in a statement that the initiative "directly supports President Trump's National Security Strategy."
Ivanka Trump previously led an effort to launch a World Bank fund to help drive women's entrepreneurship. She recently advocated for the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which has passed Congress. That legislation bolsters efforts focused on women by the United States Agency for International Development.
Tokyo , Dec 31 (AP/UNB) — A Japanese news report says former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn will be detained at least through Jan. 11.
Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for two decades saving the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy, was arrested Nov. 19 on suspicion of falsifying financial reports.
He also faces a breach of trust allegation, for which his detention had been approved previously through Jan. 1.
Kyodo News said the Tokyo District Court approved prosecutors' request for a 10-day extension on Monday.
The court was not immediately available for comment. Much of the nation's government offices are shut down for the New Year's Eve and New Year's holidays.
Ghosn has been charged in the first set of allegations, about under-reporting Ghosn's pay by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) in 2011-2015.
Dhaka, Dec 29 (AP/UNB) -Wall Street capped a week of volatile trading Friday with an uneven finish and the market's first weekly gain since November.
Losses in technology, energy and industrial stocks outweighed gains in retailers and other consumer-focused companies. Stocks spent much of the day wavering between small gains and losses, ultimately unable to maintain the momentum from a two-day winning streak.
Even so, the major stock indexes closed with their first weekly gain in what's been an otherwise painful last month of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose more than 2 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq added nearly 4 percent. The indexes are still all down around 10 percent for the month and on track for their worst December since 1931.
"It seems like convulsions in either direction have been the real norm for much of December and that's certainly been the case this week," said Eric Wiegand senior portfolio manager for Private Wealth Management at U.S. Bank. "The initial push higher and then seeing it subside a little bit is perhaps getting back to a little bit more of a normal environment, reflecting the reality that we have still a number of issues overhanging the market."
The market's sharp downturn since October has intensified this month, erasing all its 2018 gains and nudging the S&P 500 closer to its worst year since 2008.
Investors have grown worried that the testy U.S.-China trade dispute and higher interest rates would slow the economy, hurting corporate profits. This week, with trading volumes lower than usual because of the Christmas holiday, served up some pronounced swings in the market.
A steep sell-off during the shortened trading session on Christmas Eve left the major indexes down more than 2 percent. On Wednesday, stocks mounted a stunning rebound, posting the market's best day in 10 years as the Dow shot up more than 1,000 points for its biggest single-day point gain ever.
The market appeared ready to give much of those gains back on Thursday, before a late-afternoon reversal that erased a 600-point drop in the Dow left the market with a two-day winning streak.
"The market was so oversold and then Wednesday and Thursday were key reversal days, but also stronger closes than opens," said Janet Johnston, portfolio manager at TrimTabs Asset Management.
"The market was starting to price in the worst-case scenario: a recession," Johnston said
Still, the market's downturn has left stocks substantially less expensive than they were heading into the fourth quarter, Johnston noted.
"And that sets up a good buying opportunity," she said.
On Friday, the S&P 500 index fell 3.09 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,485.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 76.42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,062.40. The average had briefly climbed to 243 points.
The Nasdaq added 5.03 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,584.52. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks climbed 6.11 points, or 0.5 percent, 1,337.92.
Technology companies, a big driver of the market's gains before things deteriorated in October, were among the big decliners. Alliance Data Systems dropped 1.4 percent to $149.82.
Oil prices recovered after wavering in midmorning trading. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1.6 percent to settle at $45.33 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, inched up 0.1 percent to close at $52.20 a barrel in London.
Despite the rise in oil prices, energy sector stocks declined. Cabot Oil & Gas slid 3.5 percent to $22.95, while Hess lost 2.8 percent to $40.38.
Retailers and other consumer-focused companies fared better. Amazon rose 1.1 percent to $1,478.02.
Wells Fargo rose 0.5 percent to $45.78 on news that the lender has agreed to pay $575 million in a national settlement with state attorneys general over its fake bank accounts scandal. The San Francisco-based bank has acknowledged that its employees opened millions of unauthorized bank accounts for customers in order to meet unrealistic sales goals.
Tesla climbed 5.6 percent to $333.87 after naming two independent directors to its board under an agreement with federal regulators.
Homebuilders fell broadly in the morning after the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index fell last month as fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes. Higher mortgage rates and prices are squeezing would-be buyers out of the market, especially in the West. The stocks mostly recovered by mid-afternoon. William Lyon Homes gained 3.4 percent to $10.81.
Bonds prices recovered after midday dip, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to 2.72 percent from 2.74 percent late Thursday.
The dollar declined to 110.41 yen from Thursday's 110.74 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1442 from $1.1449.
Gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,283 an ounce and silver gained 0.8 percent to $15.44 an ounce. Copper rose 0.5 percent to $2.68 a pound.
Overseas, major indexes in Europe closed higher while markets in Asia mostly rose. London's FTSE 100 gained 2.3 percent, while the Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3 percent.