James Hyerczyk
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Asia-Pacific shares finished mostly lower on Thursday with Australia being the lone winner. The finish is a little deceiving because early in the session most indexes were higher before giving up their gains. The Aussie market just happened to close before the global equity market sell-off began.

Shares were primarily supported early in the session by the announcement of a $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package. However, that’s now old news with investors shifting their focus on the release of the weekly U.S. jobless claims report at 12:30 GMT. Economists forecast a whopping 1.648 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, up from 281K the prior week.

On Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 18664.60, down 882.03 or -4.51. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 23362.59, down 152.23 or -0.65% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 1686.24, down 18.52 or -1.09%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2764.91, down 16.68 or -0.60% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 5113.30, down 115.20 or -2.30%.

Apple May Delay Annual iPhone Launch by Months

Apple is preparing the ground to possibly delay the launch of its first 5G iPhones as the coronavirus pandemic threatens global demand and disrupts the company’s product development schedule, sources familiar with the matter have told the Nikkei Asian Review.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has held internal discussions on the possibility of delaying the launch by months, three people familiar with the matter said, while supply chain sources say practical hurdles could push back the release, originally scheduled for September.

“Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone,” said a source with direct knowledge of the discussion. “They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit.”


Apple Supplier Stocks Mixed

Stocks of Apple suppliers in Asia were mixed on Thursday. In Japan, Taiyo Yuden shares fell 3.75% while Murata Manufacturing slipped 4.97%. Over in Taiwan, Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn) dipped 0.56%. Hong Kong-listed shares of AAC Technologies gained 5.47%, as of their final hour of trading.

India Needs $20 Billion+ Support Package to Survive Three-Week Lockdown

India needs a massive stimulus package to support the economy during its three-week lockdown and direct income transfer to people is essential at this point, according to JPMorgan’s chief emerging market economist.

Most of the country’s 1.3 billion people have been told to stay indoors for 21 days starting Wednesday as part of the government’s efforts to slow down the coronavirus outbreak before India’s health care system collapses from the strain.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is expected to provide a stimulus package to help the economy. More than 1.5 trillion rupees ($19.6 billion) worth of economic stimulus is being considered, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

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