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Oil heads for weekly loss awaiting China recovery signs
  + stars: | 2023-02-03 | by ( Sonali Paul | )   time to read: +2 min
Brent crude futures rose 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $82.33 a barrel at 0110 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 18 cents, or 0.2%, to $76.06 a barrel. So far this week, Brent has dropped by 4.8%, extending a 1.1% loss from the previous week. Mixed signs of a fuel demand recovery in China, the world's top oil importer, have kept a lid on the market. "The crude demand outlook needs a clear sign that China's reopening will be smooth, and that the U.S. economic growth momentum does not deteriorate quickly," OANDA analyst Edward Moya said in a note. Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
China to fully resume travel with Hong Kong, Macau on Feb 6
  + stars: | 2023-02-03 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
HONG KONG, Feb 3 (Reuters) - China said on Friday that cross border travel between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau would fully resume from Feb. 6, dropping existing quotas and scrapping a mandatory COVID-19 test that was required before travelling. Group tours between China and its two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau would resume, while the number of customs checkpoints open will return to pre-pandemic levels, China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in a statement on its website. Even after China reopened its borders to the world on Jan. 8, a quota system and COVID testing requirement remained for travellers between the mainland and Hong Kong. Hong Kong dropped most of its remaining COVID rules in December, but mask-wearing remains mandatory unless exercising, and students must take daily rapid antigen tests. Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong, Liz Lee in Beijing and the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co (7267.T) said it will start producing a new hydrogen fuel cell system jointly developed with General Motors Co (GM.N) this year and gradually step up sales this decade, in a bid to expand its hydrogen business. The Japanese carmaker is seeking to expand the use of its new system not only for its own fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), but also commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, as stationary power stations and in construction machinery. Honda will start production of the hydrogen fuel cell system through its joint venture with GM this year, Honda senior managing executive director Shinji Aoyama told reporters during a company event in Tokyo. With the "next-generation" system, the company aims to more than double durability compared with its older fuel cell system and to bring costs down by two-thirds. That would likely lead to a divergence in trucks using batteries and those running on fuel cells, he added.
ING profits grow, bad loans fall, CEO sees margins improving
  + stars: | 2023-02-02 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
Core lending growth was a modest 3.1 billion euros, down from 13.4 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2021. Interest margins were 1.36% versus 1.37% a year ago, but Van Rijswijk said they should improve in 2023. Analysts had forecast net profit at 1.03 billion euros according to data from Refinitiv, up from 945 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2021. Loan loss provisions of 269 million were down 22% from 346 million euros a year ago. Total income rose 5% to 4.87 billion euros thanks to higher rates, offset by lower fees and commissions.
TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Holdings Corp (6752.T) cut its annual operating profit forecast by 12.5% on Thursday after lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings, hit by headwinds from a slowing global economy and persistently high raw materials prices. The conglomerate slashed its operating profit forecast to 280 billion yen ($2.18 billion) for the financial year to Mar. 31, from 320 billion yen, in part due to a less rosy outlook for its industry segment this quarter. Panasonic's third-quarter result, with its operating profit rising 16% to 84.4 billion yen in the three months ended Dec. 31, fell short of a mean estimate of 95.31 billion yen profit from nine analysts. Most investors were focused on more clarity and details about U.S. Inflation Reduction Act benefits for Panasonic's EV battery cell production, such as the size and sustainability of subsidies, the analysts added.
TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (8306.T) and Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T) on Thursday reported strong third-quarter profits in their core businesses thanks to an economic rebound in Japan and solid loan demand abroad. Including the expected accounting gain, Mitsubishi UFJ's nine-month net profit totalled 1.14 trillion yen ($8.86 billion), already ahead of its full-year profit forecast of 1 trillion yen. Mizuho's third-quarter net profit more than doubled to 209.3 billion yen compared to the same period last year, when results at the country's No. 3 lender were weighed down by loan loss provisions for KKR & Co's (KKR.N) auto parts supplier Marelli Holdings Co.Japan's second-largest bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (8316.T), on Monday reported a 42.6% jump in third-quarter net profit. ($1 = 128.6100 yen)Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Still investors took cheer, sending shares in Macau casinos up between 3% to 5%, while executives and analysts said it was an encouraging sign of a solid recovery to come. A special administrative region of China, Macau has seen a resurgence of tourists from the mainland since Jan. 8 after the territory dropped all COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound travellers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. January's revenues were the first for Sands China (1928.HK), Wynn Macau (1128.HK), MGM China (2282.HK), Galaxy Entertainment (0027.HK), MGM China (2282.HK) and SJM Holdings (0880.HK) under new 10-year contracts. Visitors pose for photos outside the Grand Lisboa casino operated by SJM Holdings during Lunar New Year in Macau, China, January 24, 2023. REUTERS/Lam Yik/File PhotoThe new contracts, with more government oversight and control, were struck after COVID-19 restrictions decimated Macau's gambling revenues and sent net debt soaring.
Jan 31 (Reuters) - Intel Corp (INTC.O) said on Tuesday that it had made broad cuts to employee and executive pay, a week after the company issued a lower-than-expected sales forecast driven by a loss of market share to rivals and a PC market downturn. Intel last week said its profit margins were plunging as the PC market cools after several years of growth during the pandemic. The company has also lowered its 401(k) matching program from 5% to 2.5% and suspended merit raises and quarterly performance bonuses, the person said. Annual performance bonuses based Intel's overall financial performance will remain but those bonuses have been smaller in recent years as the company has lost ground to rivals, the person added. Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Stocks firm, dollar on edge ahead of Fed decision
  + stars: | 2023-02-01 | by ( Tom Westbrook | )   time to read: +4 min
The Fed will announce its rate decision at 1900 GMT, followed by a news conference with Chair Jerome Powell half an hour later. Currency trade has been in a holding pattern ahead of the Fed and Bank of England and European Central Bank meetings that follow on Thursday. But the U.S. wages data wiped out some small dollar gains made earlier this week amid some nerves that the Fed sticks to its hawkish stance. United Parcel Service (UPS.N), the world's biggest package delivery firm, beat forecasts and shares rose 4.7%. Prices for dollar bonds in Adani Group companies were steadying in Asia trade on Wednesday after last week's rout.
The firm loaned Bed Bath & Beyond $375 million last year. The chain has said it is closing 87 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and five buybuy BABY stores, in addition to 150 closures announced last year. Bed Bath & Beyond said last week it defaulted on a loan, bringing it closer to bankruptcy. Sources have also told Reuters that Bed Bath & Beyond is considering skipping debt payments due on Feb. 1, a typical move that distressed companies take to conserve cash. Bed Bath & Beyond reported a loss of about $393 million after sales plunged 33% for the quarter ending Nov. 26.
SummarySummary Companies OPEC+ seen sticking with oil output policy at Feb. 1 meetingInvestors watch for central bank rate hikesPositive China data caps weaknessJan 31 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Tuesday as the threat of further interest rate increases and ample Russian crude flows outweighed demand recovery expectations from China. March Brent crude futures declined 25 cents to $84.65 per barrel by 0715 GMT. The March contract expires on Tuesday and the more heavily traded April contract fell by 38 cents, or 0.45%, to $84.12. Likewise, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped by 44 cents, or 0.56%, to $77.46 a barrel. Higher rates could slow the global economy and weaken oil demand.
The 8.4 trillion yuan ($1.24 trillion) decrease in profits in 2022 followed a 34.3% rise in 2021. Frequent and widespread COVID disruptions hit production at industrial firms, hurting both supply and demand sides and putting huge upward pressure on costs, said Bruce Pang, chief economist at Jones Lang Lasalle. In 2022, profits at foreign firms slumped 9.5%, while those at private-sector firms shrank 7.2%, NBS data showed. Industrial profits data covers firms with annual revenue above 20 million yuan from their main operations. Liabilities at industrial firms rose 8.6% in 2022 from a year earlier, compared with 9.0% growth as of end-November.
The firm loaned Bed Bath & Beyond $375 million last year. The chain has said it is closing 87 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and five buybuy BABY stores, in addition to 150 closures announced last year. Bed Bath & Beyond said last week it defaulted on a loan, bringing it closer to bankruptcy. Sources have also told Reuters that Bed Bath & Beyond is considering skipping debt payments due on Feb. 1, a typical move that distressed companies take to conserve cash. Bed Bath & Beyond reported a loss of about $393 million after sales plunged 33% for the quarter ending Nov. 26.
SummarySummary Companies OPEC+ seen sticking with oil output policy at Feb. 1 meetingRussian oil supply appears to remain strongInvestors watch for central bank rate hikesJan 31 (Reuters) - Oil prices steadied in early Asian trade on Tuesday after falling by more than 2% in the previous session on the threat of further interest rate hikes and continued Russian crude flows. Brent crude futures gained 28 cents to $85.18 per barrel by 0155 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 9 cents to $77.99. The panel is expected to recommend keeping the oil producer group's current output policy unchanged when it meets this week, five OPEC+ delegates told Reuters on Monday. Lending some support to oil prices, the U.S. dollar index has fallen by 1.3% in January so far. Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Nissan shares rise after overhaul of Renault alliance
  + stars: | 2023-01-31 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Shares of Nissan Motor Corp (7201.T) rose in early trade in Tokyo on Tuesday, after the Japanese automaker and its French partner Renault SA (RENA.PA) announced a sweeping overhaul of their two-decade-old alliance putting them on equal footing. Nissan shares were up almost 2%, outperforming a flat Nikkei 225 share average (.N225). Under the deal announced on Monday, Nissan and Renault will now hold 15% stakes in each other, and Nissan will get voting rights with its stake. Previously, Renault held around 43% of the Japanese automaker and Nissan did not have voting rights. The uneven nature of the alliance had long been a source of friction for Nissan executives.
Despite a rich stable of characters from Batman to Wonder Woman, the DC film and television studio has failed to match the success of Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) Marvel hit factory. Also in 2025, DC Studios will release "Batman - Part II," a sequel starring Robert Pattison, a darker, more adult tale that is not part of Gunn's newly envisioned "DC Universe." While Marvel has become the highest-grossing film franchise in history, DC Studios has had mixed results. Four DC film projects that were completed before Gunn and Safran took over the studio will be released to theaters this year, "Shazam! Zaslav cut some costs by scrapping a third "Wonder Woman" film and a "Batgirl" movie that was headed to streaming.
It gave Nissan a 15% stake in Renault, on a par with the French state, but no voting rights. The alliance was thrown into turmoil following Ghosn's arrest on financial misconduct charges in late 2018 and his subsequent ouster as alliance chairman. 2002 Nissan announces its "Nissan 180" three-year plan, targeting an increase of 1 million vehicles in global sales by 2005. 2017 Both Nissan and Renault post record operating profits, though Nissan still falls short on some targets. Alliance Chairman Senard rules out any merger of the carmaking partners, saying they don't need to combine to be efficient.
Taiwan export orders seen contracting at faster pace in Dec
  + stars: | 2023-01-30 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
The median forecast from a poll of 13 economists was for export orders to fall by 25.6% from a year earlier. Taiwan's export orders, a bellwether of global technology demand, fell by a worse-than-expected 23.4% in November. The government last month predicted December's export orders would be between 27.8% and 30.8% lower than those reported a year earlier. Taiwan's export orders are a leading indicator of demand for high-tech gadgets and Asian exports, and typically lead actual exports by two to three months. Poll compiled by Veronica Khongwir and Carol Lee; Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
But retailers in popular Asian destinations are desperate to take advantage of the return of a first wave of Chinese tourists as the country reopens borders after three long years of COVID-19 curbs. And robust demand for destinations like Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand has boosted prospects for the battered travel industry, Ctrip booking data shows. Still, destinations elsewhere show that the return of Chinese tourists remains at a very early stage. Fresh COVID testing requirements for Chinese tourists in some locations may be acting as a barrier, while some countries also require visas that take time to process. Retailers in South Korea are also not seeing a huge influx in Chinese tourists yet, citing the suspension of short-term visas for travellers between both countries.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday showed net employment fell 14,600 in December from November, when it surged by a revised 58,200, and missed forecasts for an increase of 22,500. "The strong employment growth through 2022, along with high participation and low unemployment, continues to reflect a tight labour market," said Lauren Ford, head of labour statistics at the ABS. ABS data out this week showed net temporary arrivals jumped by 180,000 between July and November, the largest five-month increase on record. This includes those on skilled visas, temporary work visas and students. "It represents important progress in the alleviation of labour supply constraints which featured prominently in 2022," said Ryan Wells, an economist at Westpac.
The hedge funds that used that as a buying opportunity profited, with tourism and consumption stocks quickly rebounding after Beijing adopted a more targeted COVID-19 policies and reduced quarantines following widespread anti-lockdown protests. The MSCI China index rose by 36% over November and December, even as a surge in case numbers cast doubt over the economic recovery in the short term. The strategy, managed by chief investment officer Peng She, made a 20% net return in 2022. For 2023, hedge fund managers said they were even more bullish about China, expecting traditional valuation metrics to return to focus after a year driven by macro events. Reporting by Summer Zhen; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Jamie FreedOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SummarySummary Companies Q3 sales rise by 8% but miss market forecastsMainland China sales drop 24%Company says customer demand in China now picking upAll eyes on China for luxury sector, say analystsZURICH, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Cartier jewellery maker Richemont (CFR.S) missed market forecasts during its latest quarter as the resurgence of COVID-19 in China hit sales there, highlighting the country's importance for the luxury sector. Richemont, whose other brands include Swiss watchmakers IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, has been seeing strong sales growth in Europe, the Middle East and Japan, particularly for jewellery. But the mainland Chinese market - which accounts for about a fifth of the group's sales, according to Zuercher Kantonalbank estimates - struggled with sales down 24% in constant currency terms. The prospect of a pickup in Chinese sales meant analysts were not too worried by Richemont's quarterly miss. "The catch-up from Chinese consumers will come as strong as sales decelerated in 3Q, as they were able to save money during the lockdowns."
[1/2] A Japan Yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. The yield was at 0.51% prior to the Bank of Japan decision. "If they had expanded the band again or terminated YCC, yields would rise, which would be a de facto rate hike for a second consecutive meeting," said Naomi Muguruma, senior market economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. The BOJ also made use of a newly announced policy tool immediately, offering five-year loans to financial institutions to enhance liquidity, and showing its resolve to keep yields low. At the post-meeting press conference, Kuroda defended the change, reiterating that widening the yield band has made YCC "fully sustainable".
Overall, Richemont's sales rose 8% to 5.4 billion euros ($5.82 billion) in the three months to the end of December, up from 4.98 billion euros a year earlier. The figure missed the 5.67 billion euros forecast by analysts. When currency movements were excluded, the company's sales increased by 5%. In Japan, sales increased by 30% during the quarter, aided by "solid" domestic sales and a gradual return of tourism. In Europe sales increased by 17% helped by strong local demand and returning tourists, particularly from the Middle East and the United States.
Tencent, NetEase shares rise as China gaming crackdown eases
  + stars: | 2023-01-18 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
HONG KONG, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Shares of Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), the world's largest gaming company, and smaller rival NetEase Inc (9999.HK) rose on Wednesday after China's video games regulator granted the first gaming licences in 2023, further easing an industry crackdown. Tencent's shares rose as much as 1.7% in early trade before paring gains, while NetEase's stock jumped as much as 5.8% to its highest in more than four months. Unlike in most other countries, video games need approval from regulators before release in China. Last month, China's move to grant publishing licences to 44 foreign games for domestic release was the strongest signal that the clampdown was ending. Regulators resumed issuing gaming licences to homegrown games last April, and the approval of foreign games was seen as the last regulatory curb to be removed.
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