Finance News

Asia equities rise ahead of US data tipped to show slowing inflation

Google loses antitrust lawsuit against Epic over its app store

A federal jury on Monday found against Google in a lawsuit brought by Epic, the company behind popular video game Fortnite, which accused the search giant of suppressing competition in the Android app market to secure billions of dollars in profits from its Play Store.

The verdict was returned just hours after closing arguments in the weeks-long trial in San Francisco.

The central issue in the case was whether Google stopped rivals to its Play Store and payment services from gaining traction on Android devices.

Read more about the Google lawsuit here.

What to watch in Asia today

Indian photographer Gauri Gill, whose work shows graves dug by inhabitants of remote villages in Rajasthan, is a featured artist at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a contemporary art festival opening today after a four-year hiatus © Kochi Biennale/Instagram

Events: A verdict is expected in Tokyo District Court on Yasuo Mori, a former operations executive at the 2021 Olympic Games organising committee, on charges related to a bid-rigging scandal. Chinese leader Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Vietnam, while Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak heads to China for a five-day trip focusing on energy talks. Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michele Bullock addresses the AusPayNet Summit in Sydney.

Economic indicators: Bank of Japan issues its producer price index for November. Australia’s Westpac releases a consumer sentiment survey for December, while National Australia Bank provides a business confidence survey for November. India issues industrial and manufacturing production figures for October. South Korea’s unemployment rate data for November is announced.

Corporate updates: Australian explosives maker Orica holds its annual meeting.

Hasbro to cut 20% of its workforce amid weak holiday demand

Hasbro has announced that it will eliminate about 1,100 positions from its global workforce, as the toymaker contends with soft demand that has endured into the holiday season.

The job cuts, representing about 20 per cent of its workforce, will follow headcount reductions of approximately 800 earlier this year.

“The headwinds we saw through the first nine months of the year have continued into holiday and are likely to persist into 2024,” said chief executive Chris Cocks in a memo to employees on Monday.

Hasbro expects to deliver gross annual run-rate cost savings of about $350mn to $400mn by the end of 2025, up from previous guidance of $250mn to $300mn.

S&P 500 rises in gravity-defying feat as Magnificent Seven stocks drop

The S&P 500 managed, for the first time in 2023, to close higher despite a decline for all of the heavyweight “Magnificent Seven” Big Tech stocks.

Monday was only the seventh time in the past five years that Wall Street’s benchmark has achieved that gravity-defying feat, according to Financial Times analysis.

The size of those seven US tech companies, several with valuations topping $1tn, make their share price moves particularly influential.

The S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent to close at its highest since March 2022, with 78 per cent of its member stocks rising in a broad rally that rendered technology as the only sector to decline. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2 per cent.

General Atlantic takes first step towards potential US listing

General Atlantic, a private equity group known for backing fast-growing technology companies such as Alibaba, Facebook and ByteDance, has filed confidentially to pursue an initial public offering, putting it in a position to eventually join peers Blackstone and KKR as a public company.

The New York-based group, which manages $77bn in assets, has filed confidential paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the public offering, two people familiar with the matter said.

They described that move as a preliminary step and said General Atlantic was not considering an imminent listing.

Read more about the potential General Atlantic listing here.

Israel to allow more Gaza aid to be monitored at second checkpoint

A convoy of Israeli military vehicles prepares to enter Gaza on Monday. Israel has come under increasing international pressure over the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza © Amir Cohen/Reuters

Israel’s defence forces will open a second checkpoint for the screening of humanitarian aid into Gaza, a move they said would speed security checks and could double the volume of material currently being delivered into the enclave.

Israel has come under increasing international pressure over the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the new scheme is due to start on Tuesday, hours before the UN general assembly is expected to vote on a non-binding resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Read more about the Israel-Hamas conflict here.

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