India’s February factory activity comes in higher than expected: S&P Global

India’s S&P manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for February came in at 55.3, a survey showed.

While this is slightly lower than the 55.4 recorded in January, the figure was above its long-term average of 53.7, the release said.

S&P Global said the latest reading signals “a strong improvement in the health of the industry,” adding that India’s manufacturing industry maintained robust growth in output and new orders.

The report also notes that the country’s domestic market was the main source of new business growth, as new orders from abroad increased only fractionally.

The Indian rupee strengthened marginally against the US dollar on Friday to 82.3.

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CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs says these 8 battered stocks will be profitable this year — and outperform the market

Goldman Sachs has named eight global stocks of companies that will be profitable this year and beat the broader market in a new research report.

The investment bank found that companies that turn from unprofitable to profitable during a market recovery typically outperform the broader market.

According to Goldman, this phenomenon was observed in 2001 and 2008, with an outperformance of over 50% on each occasion.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

China’s service sector activity grows at fastest pace in six months: Caixin survey

China’s services sector activity rose at the fastest pace in six months, as its services purchasing managers’ index for February rose to 55, sharply higher than the 52.9 recorded in January.

In his reportCaixin said this was also faster than the series average of 53.7. The 50-point mark separates expansion and contraction on a monthly basis.

The rise, Caixin reported, was supported by the strongest increase in new business since April 2021, as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions helped boost customer numbers and demand.

Growth in new export orders also picked up, reaching the highest level in nearly four years.

— Lim Hui Jie

Japan’s services sector grows at fastest pace in eight months for February

Japan’s services sector in February expanded at its fastest pace since June 2022, a private survey by au Jibun bank showed.

The country’s purchasing managers’ index for services came in at 54, up from 52.3 in January. A reading above 50 signals expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction for the sector.

In its report, the bank noted that Japanese service providers indicated that business activity increased sharply in the middle of the first quarter of 2023.

Activity rose at the fastest pace in eight months, “with a markedly stronger increase in the inflow of new businesses,” the report said.

— Lim Hui Jie

Singapore sees slowing momentum in business conditions

The headline S&P Global Singapore purchasing managers’ index fell to 49.6 in February, below the 50-point mark that separates growth and contraction.

February posted a decline from January’s reading of 51.2, signaling “renewed deterioration in private sector conditions,” S&P said in a release.

It added that purchasing activity eased in February due to moderate demand conditions.

“Business sentiment worsened, while caution on hiring and purchasing pushed the headline PMI into shrinking territory,” said Jingyi Pan, chief economist at S&P Market Intelligence.

“While recent developments supported the easing of supply concerns and easing price pressures for businesses, the lack of improvement in the demand picture does not bode well for Singapore’s private sector in the coming months,” said Pan.

— Jihye Lee

Inflation in Japan’s capital eased in February

Tokyo’s consumer price index rose 3.3% in February, in line with economists’ expectations from Reuters, and a lower print than January’s 4.3% government data showed.

Overall, CPI for the capital reached 3.4%, a cooler push from 4.4% last month, while prices excluding food and energy for Tokyo rose 1.8%, also a slower pace than January’s 1.7%.

The Japanese yen weakened slightly to 136.7 against the US dollar.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Jumping on the China Bandwagon? Analysts reveal whether A shares or H shares are a better bet

China’s reopening from the pandemic has been a big theme in 2023. But the recent pullback in Chinese stocks is an opportunity for investors to seize opportunities, according to Bernstein analyst Rupal Agarwal.

While A shares and H shares are both avenues for investors to gain exposure to China’s reopening theme, Agarwal said she believes one is the better option.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Japan’s unemployment rate falls to lowest level since February 2020

Japan’s unemployment rate for January landed at 2.4%, down 0.1% from December and slightly below economists’ expectations of 2.5%

This is the lowest unemployment rate since February 2020, according to Refinitiv data.

Japan’s ratio of jobs to applicants also stood at 1.35, down from 1.36% in December.

— Lim Hui Jie

10-year Treasuries poised to rise, Credit Suisse says

Now that 10-year financial management yield has broken above the 4% psychological barrier, it should continue to move higher, according to Credit Suisse.

“This should open up a deeper rally within what we now expect to be an even wider range. The next support is seen at 4.11%, then 4.325% in October,” analyst David Sneddon wrote in a note on Thursday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year was last up nearly 8 basis points at 4.073%.

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10-year Treasury yield year-to-date

Fed’s Bostic says he’s ‘firm’ to stick with quarter-point hikes

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic said he believes the central bank can stick with quarter rate hikes.

“I’m still very much of the mindset that slow and steady is going to be the appropriate approach,” Bostic told members of the media. He added that he favors rate hikes of 0.25 percentage points, a step down from the Fed’s meeting a month ago.

“Right now I’m still very firmly in the quarter movement pace,” he added.

Some other Fed officials have said they are open to hiking by half a point when they meet later this month. Market pricing is currently pointing to that move, although the likelihood of a half-point increase has increased in recent days.

-Jeff Cox

CNBC Pro: AI is all the rage. This investor shares a less obvious way — and one stock — to play the trend

Artificial intelligence has taken Wall Street by storm since ChatGPT launched and went viral – causing heightened investor interest in which stocks can benefit from the trend.

But there’s another way to get into the AI ​​well happening right now, according to tech investor Mark Hawtin, who names a stock to play it.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

The S&P 500 is trading near key levels that could signal more downside

The S&P 500 has been flirting with its 200-day moving averageand a fall below that level could signal more selling.

The 200-day was around 3,940 on Thursday, and the index fell below that level but recovered on Wednesday. The S&P 500 traded near that level Thursday morning.

The 200-day is literally the average of the last 200 closing prices, and is seen as a momentum indicator for a stock or index. Stock chart analysts would see it as a negative signal if the index were to close below that level and stay below it.

—Patti Domm

Implied probability of US default highest since 2013, MSCI says

Trading in credit default swaps (CDS) on US Treasuries has surged since January, with implied default probabilities rising “to levels not seen since the 2013 debt ceiling debate,” MSCI researchers Andras Rokob and Andy Sparks wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

The CDS spread has widened in 2023, mirroring similar movements in both 2011 and 2013, during two other episodes that saw battles between Congress and the White House over raising the US debt ceiling, the researchers wrote.

“Assuming a 95% recovery, the CDS market’s one-year implied probability of default was 11.3% as of February 24, a marked increase from the 3.3% probability that prevailed at the start of the year,” MSCI said. “The consequences of a potential default by the US government extend beyond the immediate impact on holders of Treasurys,” Rokob and Sparks warned. “Major market shifts and a sharp decline in economic activity could both be realistic possibilities.”

Scott Schnipper; CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report