Japan stocks surge to highest since 1990 as G-7 meeting is underway

Philippines central bank may pause rate hikes for the next 2-3 meetings, governor says

The Philippines central bank may hold its policy interest rates for the next two to three meetings before considering a rate cut given the economy’s domestic inflation situation, governor Felipe Medalla said.

This comes after it held its benchmark interest rate at 6.25% on Thursday, the first pause after nine straight hikes since May 2022.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia,” Medalla said as month-on-month inflation “is actually quite low already,” the central bank can consider a rate cut after the next two or three meetings.

However, Medalla points out that “the market seems to think that it’s appropriate to have a differential between our policy to [the] U.S. policy [of] anywhere between 1% to 1.25%.”

“What we’ll have to be very vigilant about is the extent to which a small differential between the our policy rate and the Fed’s could cause significant weakening of the peso.”

The peso currently stands at 55.74 against the U.S. dollar.

In addition, Medalla also forecasts inflation in the country to fall to about 4% by September or October. The Philippines’ headline inflation stood at 6.6% in April.

— Lim Hui Jie, Charmaine Jacob

Zelenskyy to attend G-7 Summit in person: Financial Times

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the Group of Seven meetings in person on Sunday, Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the preparations on Friday.

The surprise visit comes after the president was expected to attend the meetings virtually instead.

Zelenskyy’s trip to Hiroshima is “aimed at hardening western resolve in support of Ukraine and winning over other non-G7 attendees at the summit, including India and Brazil,” the Financial Times report said.

— Jihye Lee

Alibaba leads losses on Hang Seng after quarterly revenue misses expectations

Shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba fell almost 5% in Hong Kong, leading losses on the Hang Seng index after the company’s quarterly revenue missed expectations late Thursday.

Alibaba recorded a revenue of 208.20 billion yuan ($30.12 billion) for the three months ended in March, compared with a Refinitiv consensus estimate of 210.3 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, the company posted a full-year revenue of 868.69 billion yuan, up 2% year-on-year, but this was the slowest rate of growth since the company went public in 2014.

Net income stood at 22 billion yuan for the quarter, reversing a year earlier loss of 18.36 billion yuan.

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New Zealand’s trade deficit for April narrows to NZ$427 million

New Zealand’s trade surplus for April narrowed to 427 million New Zealand dollars ($266.46 million), down from NZ$470 million a year ago.

The country’s statistics department said exports rose 10% year-on-year to NZ$6.8 billion, while imports rose 12% to NZ$6.4 billion.

It said milk powder, butter, and cheese exports grew the most in April compared to a year ago, rising 26% year-on-year to NZ$2 billion.

Petroleum and petroleum products meanwhile led imports, rising 312% to NZ$974 million.

— Lim Hui Jie

Japan’s core inflation nationwide rose 3.4% in April

Japan’s core inflation nationwide rose 3.4% year-on-year in April, in line with forecasts by economists polled by Reuters.

The reading ticked up higher from the previous month’s inflation rate of 3.1% and marked levels above the central bank’s target of 2%.

Overall inflation also ticked up from 3.2% in March to 3.5% in April.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.2% to 138.42 against the greenback after the U.S. dollar index rose past 103.5 overnight, marking its highest point in about two months.

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U.S., Taiwan reach first agreement as part of trade initiative

The United States and Taiwan reached an agreement on a number of trade items, marking a deal on the first part of the bilateral “21st Century Trade” initiative.

The first agreement under the initiative includes: customs administration and trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, services domestic regulation, anticorruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises, the United States Trade Representative said in a release.

US trade representative Katherine Tai said of the agreement, “This accomplishment represents an important step forward in strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship.”

The agreement comes in the face of increased pressure from China, warning against deepening bilateral engagement between the U.S. and Taiwan.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Slowdown, recession or boom? Bank of America reveals the global stocks to play each eventuality

Bank of America has named a number of European stocks that are expected to perform well across three economic phases.

“Our Style Cycle model … remains in the ‘Slowdown’ phase but is near the crossing line of the next phase,” wrote Paulina Strzelinska, quant strategist at Bank of America in a note to clients on May 17.

“Historically, the ‘Recession’ phase is the typical successor of the ‘Slowdown’ phase, but a ‘Boom’ phase has also followed ‘Slowdown’ in the past.”

The investment bank screened for these stocks based on their ability to withstand fluctuations in each eventuality.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about their stock picks here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Outperforming fund manager is bullish on these cybersecurity stocks, citing more room for growth

Cybersecurity is one area that presents an opportunity for investors right now, according to portfolio manager Philip Ripman of Storebrand Asset Management.

Ripman, who manages the $1 billion Storebrand Global Solutions sustainable fund, is bullish on two cybersecurity firms.

He also explains why he doesn’t hold the typical mega-cap tech names in his fund.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

McCarthy says he’s optimistic negotiators can reach deal on debt ceiling in time for vote next week

Big Tech, chipmakers help lift Nasdaq Composite

Dallas Fed President: Economic data doesn’t justify rate hike pause yet

Dallas Federal Reserve President Lorie Logan said Thursday that the economic data points so far don’t justify skipping a rate increase at the central bank’s next meeting in June.

“After raising the target range for the federal funds rate at each of the last 10 FOMC meetings, we have made some progress,” she said in prepared remarks for a speech to bankers in San Antonio. “The data in coming weeks could yet show that it is appropriate to skip a meeting. As of today, though, we aren’t there yet.”

Futures took a leg lower following her remarks.

— Jeff Cox

Jobless claims fall unexpectedly; Philadelphia manufacturing improves

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly declined last week, indicating the labor market still has some tightness.

First-time filings for the week ended May 13 totaled 242,000, a drop of 22,000 from the previous week and below the Dow Jones estimate for 250,000, the Labor Department reported. Continuing claims nudged lower to 1.799 million, against the FactSet estimate for 1.829 million.

In other economic news, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for the region rose to -10.4, an increase of 29 percentage points and better than the estimate for -20.

However, the index, which measures the percentage of companies reporting expansion against those seeing contraction, still showed the sector in decline for the region.

—Jeff Cox

Candice Cearley

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