Asian markets mixed on big companies’ earnings

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HONG KONG/TOKYO/ SYDNEY

Asian markets were mixed Thursday as investors digested a slew of corporate earnings..5%. Qantas Airways, Australia’s largest airline, jumped 3.3% in Sydney. The company reported a 17% drop in underlying pretax profit for the year to $1.3 billion Australian dollars ($880 million), which Qantas says is its primary measure for assessing financial performance. It also announced that it would buy back up to 79.7 million shares.

CEO Alan Joyce called the results particularly strong considering some of the company’s headwinds. He said for example that fuel costs rose because of higher oil prices. The Australian dollar has also been weaker. Australia’s broader S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.4%. BYD China’s largest electric car maker, which is also backed by Warren Buffett declined 4.6% in Hong Kong. Its Shenzhen-listed stock lost 2.5%.

The company reported a nearly 204% surge in net profit for the first half to more than 1.4 billion yuan ($205 million), but said it expected its electric, hybrid and other new energy vehicle sales to slow down, and for overall profit to drop a “significant” amount in the third quarter because of weakening demand for cars and a cut in government subsidies for electric vehicles.

Henderson Land Development, which is owned by one of Asia’s richest property tycoons Lee Shau-kee, dropped 4.1% in Hong Kong. The company posted about a 50% fall in its net profit for the first half. It also said the US-China trade war and ongoing protests in Hong Kong have added uncertainties to Hong Kong’s property market.

Investors are still waiting for Friday, when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak at an economic meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed released minutes Wednesday from its July policy meeting. The minutes showed that most Fed policymakers supported last month’s rate cut, and noted that the Fed was keeping its options open about the future.

The risk sentiment remains on the mend, with little coming out of the July Fed minutes to significantly alter rate cut expectations, wrote Jingyi Pan, a market strategist for IG Group, in a research note Thursday. Markets now almost fully price in a rate cut by the Fed in September, according to CME Fedwatch.

 

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