Live news: Argentina’s central bank lifts key rate to 40%

Samsung Electronics estimates 52.5% rise in fourth-quarter profit due to increased demand for chips

Samsung Electronics estimated that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 52.5 percent thanks to strong demand for server memory chips and increased orders for contract chip manufacturing, despite lower chip prices.

Operating profit for the world’s largest maker of computer chips and smartphones was forecast at 13.8 trillion won ($11.5 billion) in the quarter ended December, but it was lower than the 15.2 trillion won forecast by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. Sales were estimated at 76 trillion won, up 23.5 percent from the previous year.

Analysts said the South Korean company’s profit is likely to increase further this year after posting a drop in the first quarter, as chip prices are expected to rebound in the second quarter, in part due to lower production at its plant in Xi’an, China. .

Expectations of a chip price rebound have sent Samsun shares up more than 10 percent in the past two months as demand for new data centers and streaming services surged with the resurgence of Covid around the world. Samsung shares rose 1.3 percent to 77,900 won on Friday morning.

What are you watching in Asia today

Hong Kong: A number of public activities in the territory will be banned from today, for at least two weeks as Hong Kong prepares for the spread of the Omicron variant.

data: Japan releases monthly consumer spending data for November and India releases its annual GDP estimate for 2022. The International Monetary Fund expects the country’s economy to grow by 9.5 percent in the year to March.

earnings: Japanese convenience store operator Lawson and Ryohin Keikaku, the company behind home goods company Muji, released results today.

GameStop shares jump as retailer enters NFT crypto markets

Video game retailer GameStop, whose stock launched a meme-trading frenzy last January, is preparing to enter the NFT game and cryptocurrency as well.

Gamestop will launch divisions focused on developing a cryptocurrency business and a non-fungible token market as part of the transformation plan. The move was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

GameStop shares jumped 22 percent in after-hours trading to $159.

Gamestop plans to establish cryptocurrency partnerships as well as develop games that use blockchain and NFT technology, according to the WSJ.

The retailer’s stock price is up more than 600 percent from a year ago, but is down 62 percent from its January high. Despite its popularity among retail investors, the company has struggled as the pandemic continues to hit brick-and-mortar retailers.

US technology stocks sway as investors assess Fed meeting minutes and mixed data

Technology stocks slid at the end of a busy trading day Thursday, as a mixed batch of economic data along with a hawkish bias from the Federal Reserve clouded the investment outlook for US stocks.

Wall Street’s tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.1 percent on Wednesday in its worst session since February.

But the small pullback belies what has been a choppy trading session, as the index fell as much as 1.2 percent at one point before rising 0.7 percent.

The sudden saw’s moves came on the heels of weak services data, indicating continued supply chain disruption, and higher-than-expected initial benefit claims. The data initially put a pause in the shift away from highly-rated technology stocks seen as a near-term victim of a resurgent economy and higher bond yields.

However, Thursday’s weaker data contrasts with Wednesday’s numbers showing an increase in private jobs and higher than expected manufacturing data. Also on Wednesday, the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed that it may move to raise interest rates and tighten financial conditions more quickly than expected, contributing to a move away from stocks in rate-sensitive technology companies.

Read more about Thursday’s market action here.

Argentina’s central bank raises key interest rate to 40%

Argentina’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year as it seeks to combat high inflation and reach a new payment agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Leliq’s prime rate will rise to 40 percent from 38 percent previously. The annual inflation rate in Argentina is around 50 percent.

The bank’s decision to raise interest rates comes as the left-wing Peronist government faces mounting pressure from International Monetary Fund officials to tighten its monetary policy and present a credible plan to restructure about $40 billion owed to the international lender, as part of a record $57 billion rescue plan. 2018.

In December, fund officials specifically called for interest rates to exceed inflation.

About $2.8 billion Argentina owes to the International Monetary Fund comes in late March, which analysts see as a deadline to secure the terms of the country’s new repayment program, which owes $18.8 billion this year and then again in 2022.

Martín Guzmán, Argentina’s finance minister and chief negotiator for the International Monetary Fund, said this week that the government and the IMF had not yet reached an agreement on when to cut its fiscal deficit after 18 months of inconclusive talks.

Argentine dollar bonds fell the most since September in early trading Thursday after Guzmán’s speech indicated that a deal in March was not imminent. Default swaps widened in five weeks.