Asia-Pacific stocks mostly lower, Tokyo inflation at highest in 40 years; US markets closed

Hong Kong movers: Casinos, technology stocks drop on rising China case numbers

Hong Kong-listed stocks related to reopening and technology fell in Asia’s morning session following reports of a surge of Covid cases in China.

Shares of casino operator MGM China fell more than 4%, Wynn Macau lost 2.5%, Sands China fell 3%, and SJM Holdings also lost 2.7%.

Technology stocks such as Tencent also dropped more than 3% in the morning session, Meituan lost 3.17% and Bilibili shed 4.36%.

-Jihye Lee

Tokyo core inflation hits the highest levels in 40 years

Tokyo’s core consumer price index rose 3.6% in November on an annualized basis, more than the 3.5% expected in a Reuters poll.

The report marks the fastest annual pace Japan’s capital has seen since April 1982, and significantly above the Bank of Japan’s inflation target of 2%.

The capital’s reading indicates higher inflationary pressures have yet to be tamed. Nationwide inflation is hovering around similarly historic levels.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Outperforming asset manager picks the stocks set to win as margins get squeezed

Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Plurimi Wealth, believes margin squeeze is the ‘biggest risk’ for equities. But he thinks some stocks could beat the trend.

“Own sectors with defendable margins or that are creating margin squeeze elsewhere,” he added, naming the sectors and stocks he likes best.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

CNBC Pro: UBS says recession in 2023 will be an inch deep but a mile wide — and that’s not priced into stocks.

Global economic conditions will shift next year and that’s going to flip which markets and sectors underperform, according to the chief strategist of UBS Investment Bank.

“It’s an inch deep but it’s a mile wide,” he said of the expected recession. “Global growth is at 2% and that is not priced into stocks,” Bhanu Baweja told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Wednesday.

He also named which sectors he expects to perform next year.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

Jenny Reid

Malaysian stocks rose after state palace announces prime minister

Malaysia-listed stocks closed higher on Thursday after the state palace announced Anwar Ibrahim as the nation’s prime minister.

The benchmark KLCI index closed 4.04% higher following previous negative sessions, ending the session at the highest levels in more than two months.

Telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd rose more than 12%, and Maxis Bhd rose 11%. Genting Malaysia climbed around 8% and rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove also gained 8% in the afternoon session.

The Malaysian ringgit strengthened slightly against the US dollar and last stood at 4.5080.

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