Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded mostly higher ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium in the United States, while Hong Kong's session resumed in the afternoon after trading was halted due to a typhoon warning.
The Hang Seng index was up 3.63% to 19,968.38 at the close, pumped higher by tech stocks. Alibaba jumped 8.75%, Tencent was up 4.84%, and JD.com rose 11%. The Hang Seng Tech index closed up 6.01%.
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In South Korea, the Kospi rose 1.22% to 2,477.26 and the Kosdaq was up 1.79% at 807.37 as the Bank of Korea raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points.
U.S. stock futures were slightly up after all three major averages ended higher during the daily trading session, as investors await more clarity on the Federal Reserve's fight against inflation.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 75 points, or 0.22%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.36% and 0.35%, respectively.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar rose as high as 109.11 overnight before falling back to around 108.6.
"Expectations of a hawkish message from FOMC Chair Powell at Jackson Hole will likely keep upward pressure on the USD in the run‑up to his speech on Friday," Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Senior Economist and Currency Strategist Kristina Clifton said in a report.
Hong Kong is slated to report July's trade data later in the afternoon.
Sony raises PS5 console prices because of global inflation
Sony announced that it raised the recommended retail price of its PlayStation 5 games console in several international markets, pointing to high inflation and "adverse currency trends."
The company said the changes are effective immediately in the listed regions in its announcement excluding Japan, where the new prices kick in on Sep. 15. The changes will not be affecting prices of PS5s in the U.S.
Read more on the latest in this story.
— Jihye Lee
China Tourism pares most of its earlier losses in Hong Kong debut
China Tourism Group Duty Free pared most of its earlier losses in its Hong Kong debut, which was delayed because of a typhoon warning.
The stock traded 24% below its offer price of 158 Hong Kong dollars ($20.14) at session lows, before retracing losses.
It last traded at 157.50 Hong Kong dollars, 0.3% below the offer price.
The company, which operates duty free retail stores in China and Asia, raised 16.2 billion Hong Kong dollars in proceeds from the share offering.
— Abigail Ng
Hong Kong Exchange resumes session in afternoon trade
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index resumed trade in the afternoon after delaying its morning session due to a Typhoon Signal No.8 issuance, as previously announced on its website.
The HSI was trading higher 1.23% at the delayed open, and the Hong Kong Tech Index traded 3.06% higher.
The Hong Kong Observatory cancelled the T8 issuance around 9:20 a.m., replacing it with a Strong Wind Signal, No.3.
Fitch says China's weak land market has yet to see sustainable recovery
Fitch Ratings said China's land sales have yet to recover sustainably, according to a new report.
The ratings agency said many developers still prioritize liquidity preservation over land replenishment amid weak sales and impaired funding access.
"Many cities with weak land-market sentiment have urged local government financing vehicles to purchase land, often at zero premiums, to contain auction failure rates and narrow the shortfall in fiscal revenue," the report said, adding that these practices may not be sustainable because those companies have limited property development capacity.
Chinese regulators warn banks against yuan selling: Reuters
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) warned banks against aggressively selling the Chinese yuan, Reuters reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The report said the exchange regulator called several banks on Wednesday, and that market participants said the moves suggested authorities may be getting uncomfortable with the speed of the slide.
The SAFE told Reuters that it had not seen institutions unreasonably buying large amounts of foreign exchange in August, when market supply and demand were stable.
The Chinese yuan was last trading at 6.8582 against the greenback.
China to expand economy-stabilizing package for recovery and growth: Xinhua
China plans to implement more measures as part of its policy package to stabilize its economy, Xinhua reported, citing a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
That's part of stimulus efforts for recovery and growth, and taskforces will be deployed regionally to implement the policies more rapidly, the report said.
Separately, the country's human resources and social security ministry announced it will focus on expanding jobs and promoting policies that support stabilizing the job market, according to a Reuters report.
Vice Minister Li Zhong said at a press conference that the nation's employment situation has generally stayed stable for a long time, but noted that there's been persistent long-term pressure.
Bank of Japan member says he wants to stick to ultra-loose policy
Bank of Japan member Toyoaki Nakamura stressed the need to "patiently maintain" its stance on monetary easing, according to Reuters.
In a speech, he said that tightening monetary policy when the output gap remains negative would weigh heavily on the economic activities of households.
Japan has continued to keep monetary policy ultra loose as other central banks raising rates aggressively. Inflation in Japan is above target, but not as high as in the U.S. and U.K.
Nakamura said the gap between inflation in Japan and other economies is due largely to slow wage growth.
He also said if China resumes restrictive Covid measures, it would prolong supply disruptions and hurt Japan's exports, output, and capital expenditure.
Qantas shares jump after the buyback announcement, earnings report
Shares of Australian airline Qantas jumped as much as 10% after the company reported earnings and announced plans for a share buyback.
The company posted an underlying loss before tax of 1.86 billion Australian dollars ($1.29 billion) for financial year of 2022.
"While the first three quarters of the year were defined by border closures and waves of uncertainty caused by Covid variants, the fourth quarter saw the highest sustained levels of travel demand since the start of the pandemic," Qantas said in a statement.
It also announced plans to buy back shares worth up to 400 million Australian dollars, according to a filing.
"This is the first return to shareholders since 2019 and follows $1.4 billion of equity raised at the start of the pandemic," the company said.
— Abigail Ng
CNBC Pro: Why Goldman Sachs thinks this FAANG stock is a sell
FAANG stocks delivered a mixed bag of second-quarter earnings, but Goldman Sachs is keeping its buy calls for nearly the entire grouping.
Just one stock is a sell, according to the bank.
Pro subscribers can read the story here.
— Zavier Ong
HKEX delays morning session due to Typhoon, to resume in afternoon
Hong Kong delayed its morning session due to the issuance of Typhoon Signal No. 8, the exchange announced on its website. The session's likely to resume in the afternoon as the signal has now been downgraded to a T3.
"If Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above, or any announcement of Extreme Conditions, remains issued at 9:00 am, the morning trading sessions for all markets will be cancelled," it says.
The HKEX's guidance on its website on resuming its session says, "trading will begin on the first half hour approximately two hours after the discontinuation of the Typhoon Signal No. 8 or any Extreme Conditions announcement."
Bank of Korea raises rates
The Bank of Korea raised the nation's benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 2.50%.
The move was in line with a poll by Reuters, where all but one of the 36 economists predicted the raise. One expected a 50 basis point hike.
That follows July's 50 basis point raise — the biggest increase since the bank adopted the currency policy system in 1999, coming even as it expects gross domestic product growth "below the May forecast of 2.7%."
The central bank's Governor Rhee Chang-yong is expected to hold a press conference elaborating on today's decision later in the morning.
— Jihye Lee
CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley, UBS prefer these ‘cheap’ stocks, even in a recession
The risk of recession is growing, according to Canaccord Genuity's analysts led by Tony Dwyer.
"Our indicators suggest a recession is increasingly likely as we move into next year, especially if the Fed continues to raise rates," according to an Aug. 22 research note.
Pro subscribers can read the story here.
— Zavier Ong
Treasury yields rising on expectations of a hawkish Jackson Hole Fed meeting
Treasury yields are climbing ahead of the Federal Reserve's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. on the idea that the market view has been more dovish than the central bank.
The three-day event starts Thursday, and the market is most focused on a Friday morning speech from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
The market has been anticipating a hawkish Fed based on comments ahead of the meeting. For instance, some Fed officials have been pushing back on a market view that the Fed could cut interest rates not long after it finishes raising them next year.
Yields, which move opposite price, have been moving higher on expectations that Powell will emphasize an aggressive policy of battling inflation and holding rates at high levels for longer. The 10-year yield reached 3.11% Wednesday morning, the highest since late June.
"I think what the bond market is looking to try to understand is Powell's view of this policy reversal in 2023," said Jim Caron of Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
— Patti Domm