China relaxes floor rates on mortgage loans for first home buyers

The People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission announced approval for lower mortgage rates for first-time home buyers if newly constructed house prices drop for three consecutive months, a notice said.

The latest measures show further support from the government for the property sector.

Housing sales in China fell more than 20% on an annualized basis each month last year through November, Factset data showed. Home prices fell for the fourth-straight month in November on a monthly basis, Reuters reported.

Property stocks listed in Hong Kong were mostly up, with Logan group rising 5.48% and Cifi Holdings gaining 0.79%. Country Garden and Longfor Group were flat in Friday’s morning session.

— Jihye Lee

Japan’s service sector grows for the fourth straight month

Japan’s services sector activity showed a fourth-consecutive month of growth in December as the nation’s central bank maintains its ultra-dovish policy, in contrast with its hawkish global peers.

The final au Jibun Bank Japan Services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.1, compared with the sharp fall in November’s reading of 50.3 from 53.2 in October.

The 50-point mark in PMI readings separates contraction from expansion.

The Japanese yen traded marginally stronger after the report and last stood at 133.38 against the greenback.

— Jihye Lee

Samsung Electronics’ earnings guidance flags nearly 70% plunge in quarterly profits

Samsung Electronics flagged the worst quarterly profit in nearly 8 years with a roughly 70% decline in its final quarter’s operating profit, according to the company’s latest earnings guidance.

The tech giant estimated its profit slumping to 4.3 trillion won ($3.37 billion) in the period from October to December on weakened global demand, after posting a profit of 13.87 trillion won ($10.92 billion) in its previous quarter.

Shares of the tech giant inched up 0.17% shortly after the guidance release.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Citi’s Chronert says a recession is near; shares his ‘top conviction calls’ to tough it out

Citi’s Scott Chronert expects a mild recession in the first half of this year and revealed three strategy calls that could help investors trade the downturn.

He shared three “top conviction calls” with CNBC that could help investors navigate the macro environment.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard says 2023 is poised to be a disinflationary year

There are a number of factors that could make 2023 a disinflationary year, according to St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard in a Thursday speech.

He noted that GDP growth is likely to improve in the second half of 2022 and inflation has declined recently, even though it remains too high overall.

He added that while the current policy is not yet “sufficiently restrictive” but is moving closer and will reach that level this year. This signaled to markets that he may be backing off the more than 5% terminal rate he sees the central bank reaching before pausing or pivoting rate hikes, bringing stocks off lows of the day.

The labor market strength that has been seen in the middle of a hiking cycle is unprecedented, he said.

—Carmen Reinicke

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs reveals 7 under-the-radar global stocks to buy this year

Many under-the-radar stocks are key to a green energy transition, according to Goldman Sachs — and it expects them to take off in 2023.

The Wall Street bank said the decade-long trend of investing in large clean energy stocks would shift this year, with the focus moving to smaller supply chain firms.

The investment bank identified seven stocks in the Europe, Middle East, and Asia regions that will benefit from the new trend.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Big declines for Silvergate, Bed Bath & Beyond highlight midday movers

Here are some of the biggest stock moves during Thursday’s trading session:

Silvergate — Shares of the crypto-focused bank tumbled more than 42% after Silvergate disclosed massive customer withdrawals during the fourth quarter. The bank said it $3.8 billion in assets from digital asset customers at the end of December, down more than 60% from three months earlier. The company also sold off more than $5 billion of debt securities to cover the withdrawals, resulting in a loss on those sales of $718 million.

Bed Bath & Beyond — The home goods retailer plummeted 24% after reporting it’s running out of cash and is considering bankruptcy, citing weaker-than-expected sales. The company said it is exploring financial options including restructuring, seeking additional capital or selling assets, in addition to a potential bankruptcy.

Lamb Weston Holdings — The food processing company jumped 9% after it smashed quarterly earnings and revenue estimates. Lamb Weston also raised its financial guidance for the full year.

Check out more movers here.

— Jesse Pound

Continuing jobless claims dip, signaling labor market strength

Initial jobless claims ticked up slightly to 225,000 in the week ending Dec. 24, according to the Labor Department. But continuing claims – which count those who have been on unemployment for more than one week – dropped.

Continuing claims fell more than 24,000 to 1,569,764 in the previous week. This signals that people are finding new jobs amid a strong labor market.

—Carmen Reinicke

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