Hong Kong shares jump over 2% as Alibaba surges 15%; Asia markets largely up

Alibaba’s HK-listed shares open 15% higher after announcing major shakeup

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Australia inflation pace slows more than expected to 6.8% in February

Australia’s monthly inflation pace for February came in at a slower pace at 6.8% compared to the same period a year ago.

This is lower than January’s figure of 7.4%, and also lower than the 7.1% economists expected.

Data from the country’s statistics bureau revealed that the most significant price rises were in the housing, followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages, then in transport.

The inflation data, as well as the retail sales data released on Tuesday, will be key to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision in April on whether to hike rates.

— Lim Hui Jie

Alibaba jumps 11% after tech firm announces split

Alibaba jumped more than 11% during midday trading Tuesday after the e-commerce giant said it will split its company into six business groups.

It’s the most significant restructuring in Alibaba’s history, with each of the six firms set to be managed by its own CEO and board of directors.

The move is “designed to unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness,” according to a company statement.

Separately, Morgan Stanley named it a research tactical idea following the announcement, saying the “share price will rise in absolute terms over the next 60 days.”

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Alibaba shares 1-day

— Arjun Kharpal, Sarah Min

Bank stocks pull down market following Senate hearing

Banks led the stock market lower Tuesday afternoon, following a hearing in which three regulators said they would favor more stringent regulations in smaller institutions.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Michael Barr, FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg and Nellie Liang, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for domestic finance, each said they would back tougher requirements for banks with more than $100 billion assets.

The remarks came during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the recent failure of three regional banks. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) asked each if they would favor tougher rules for banks other than those identified as systemically important and if they would support reversing deregulatory changes made in 2018.

“I certainly think it’s appropriate for us to go back and review those actions in light of the recent episode and consider what changes should be made,” Gruenberg said.

The SPDR Regional Banking and the SPDR Bank ETFs dropped more than 1% each in afternoon trade.

—Jeff Cox

CNBC Pro: As volatility persists, this is what investors can expect in the second quarter — according to history

Stock markets have been on an upward trend in the first quarter of 2023, with the S&P 500 and MSCI World Index on track to post more than 4% in total gains.

This is particularly notable after a year of negative returns.

Here, CNBC Pro subscribers can read how markets have performed in similar conditions historically.

— Ganesh Rao

Regulators speak in favor of tighter rules for regional banks

All three regulators testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday said rules need to be toughened for regional banks.

“I anticipate the need to strengthen capital and liquidity standards for firms over $100 billion,” said Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision, in response to questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Barr’s fellow authorities echoed his sentiments as they spoke about the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank.

FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg noted that he voted against deregulatory moves in 2018 and said, “My views haven’t changed.”

Nellie Liang, the undersecretary for domestic finance, said she agrees “that we need to prevent these types of banking failures.”

Bank stocks were slightly higher following the exchange.

—Jeff Cox

Consumer confidence index rises more than expected

The consumer outlook brightened a bit in March, despite the crisis in banking, according to a Conference Board index released Tuesday.

The board’s Consumer Confidence Index edged higher to 104.2, from 103.4 in February and ahead of the 100.7 Dow Jones estimate.

In addition, the expectations index, which measures the short-term outlook, rose to 73, from 70.4. However, the index remains below the 80 level that is consistent with recessions. The inflation index also remained elevated, at 6.3% for the outlook over the next 12 months.

—Jeff Cox

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