Alibaba’s Revenue Misses Forecasts as China’s Covid Policy Weighs
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Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (+7.8% ADR) reported one of its weakest revenue expansions since going public, underscoring the persisting weight of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy on domestic consumption and business activities. The Hangzhou-based company said Thursday that its July-September quarter revenue rose 3% from the same period year earlier, marking a return to growth from the slim dip in the previous quarter when widespread pandemic lockdowns disrupted supply chains and logistics. Sales were $29.1 billion, missing the average forecast by analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Alibaba, which in the past was among China’s fastest-growing tech companies, has been dealing with economic pains Beijing’s stringent Covid-19 restrictions have wrought, competition and the aftermath of a regulatory crackdown. In a bid to boost investor confidence, Alibaba said it is extending its share buyback program by $15 billion, on top of its existing $25 billion program. The program will be effective through March 2025.
On Thursday, the SMI lost 0.2 per cent to 10,918 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 11 price losers and 9 price gainers. 28.56 (previously: 32.83) million shares were traded. The SMI was supported above all by Nestle. The highly weighted defensive share gained 1.3 per cent and was thus the anchor of stability. The share of the pharmaceutical company Novartis closed slightly up by 0.1 per cent. The shares of competitor Roche, however, fell significantly by 1.7 per cent. Insurance stocks held up well. Zurich Insurance advanced by 1.0 per cent and Swiss Re by 0.5 per cent. Among the banking stocks, UBS declined by 0.3 per cent and Credit Suisse closed almost unchanged. Alcon shares slipped by 3.1 per cent, after the shares had risen by around 5 per cent the previous day following the presentation of third-quarter figures. Partners Group recovered a little from the previous day's significant losses. The share closed 0.7 per cent higher. Richemont narrowly maintained positive ground. New Covid 19 restrictions in China dampened Swiss watch exports in October, analysts at Bernstein said. The share of rival Swatch, on the other hand, dropped 1.4 per cent.
Major European stock indexes were mostly lower on Thursday, although strong earnings from Siemens helped lift the DAX into positive territory. In the U.K., losses for industrial stocks dragged the FTSE 100 lower as austerity will make a return in the U.K. .The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.4 percent to 428.4 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and SBF 120 were down 0.5 percent each. The DAX 40 in Frankfurt gained 0.2%, while the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.1%. Bouygues (-6.5%) confirmed its financial targets for 2022, after managing to stabilise its current operating margin for the first nine months of the year. Atos (+2.7%) has entered into exclusive negotiations with Lutech to sell its Italian operations, grouped under the name Atos Italia. JCDecaux gained 1.8% as UBS raised its recommendation from "neutral" to "buy" and its target price from €16.90 to €20.40. Siemens shares jumped 7% on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange after the German industrial conglomerate announced that it expects to achieve strong earnings per share (EPS) growth and like-for-like revenue growth of 6% to 9% for the year ending 30 September 2023. British luxury group Burberry (+2% in London) announced on Thursday it was targeting sales of £4bn (€4.6bn) at constant exchange rates for the 2023-2024 financial year, although it warned that the macroeconomic environment was difficult and could affect its business in the short term. In the long run, the group aims to increase its turnover to £5 billion.
Stocks slipped Thursday, as investor enthusiasm about a potential slowdown in interest-rate increases faded. The S&P 500 fell 12.23 points, or 0.3%, to 3946.56, paring its steeper losses from earlier in the day. The benchmark gauge had lost 0.8% Wednesday, giving up some of the banner gains stocks posted last week. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite declined 38.70 points, or 0.3%, to 11144.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 7.51 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33546.32. All three indexes remain up for November. Speaking Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said interest rates have to rise higher to restrict the economy to an extent that brings inflation back to the Fed’s target. On the economic front, data showed 222,000 people filed for initial jobless claims last week. That is down by 4,000 from the week before and points to continuing strength in the labor market. That stands in contrast with the growing wave of layoffs hitting the technology sector in recent weeks, and some analysts say it suggests more job cuts are to come. On Wednesday, Amazon said it plans to cut about 10,000 jobs, joining Facebook parent Meta Platforms in announcing layoffs. Network equipment maker Cisco Systems (+5%) reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday evening and raised its financial guidance for the year. Graphics chipmaker Nvidia (-1.5%) missed Wall Street forecasts for third-quarter earnings per share, but its revenue beat expectations. General Motors (+0.4%) raised its guidance for 2022 and outlined its electric vehicle ambitions at an investor day. Kohl's (+5.4%) reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, yet the retailer declined to provide financial guidance for the full year 2022. Department stores' chain Macy's (+7.7%) reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings despite a 3.9% decline in sales, and slightly raised its full-year earnings forecast. The group is now targeting adjusted earnings per share of between 4.07 dollars and 4.27 dollars, compared with a maximum of 4.20 dollars previously.
In Asia, major indexes were little changed. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added almost 0.6% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.1% to 27,900 points. China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1%. North Korea fired another ballistic missile, this time with a much longer range. A missile test by the North Korean regime had already weighed on the previous day.
Long-dated U.S. government debt yields rose Thursday and multiple bond-market gauges pointing to the likelihood of an approaching U.S. recession plumbed deeply negative levels after the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s James Bullard pointed to the need to keep raising interest rates to a restrictive level. The 2s10s spread narrowed to minus 68 basis points, a level last seen in February 1982. A second bond-market recession gauge — the spread between yields on the 3-month bill and 10-year note — was near its most negative level since March 2007. And a third spread, the one between the 1-year and 10-year yields, inverted by almost a full percentage point, leaving it around the most negative level since the 1-year bill was reintroduced in June 2008, according to Tradeweb. The 10-year Treasury note was yielding 3.768%, up 8 basis points while the 2-year Treasury note advanced by 6 basis points to 4.446%.
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