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Asia markets are mostly lower as investors assess comments from ECB officials, Aussie sales data

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The Melbourne skyline is reflected in the Maribyrnong River in the early morning light on April 18, 2023.

William West | AFP | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly lower Tuesday as investors assessed comments from the European Central Bank officials signaling that rate cuts may be on the horizon for the world's largest economic bloc.

In Asia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.28% lower at 7,766.70, as Australia's retail sales growth missed Reuters' poll estimates. Sales in April rose 0.1% compared with March.

Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.11% to end at 38,855.37, while the broad-based Topix closed marginally higher at 2,768.50.

South Korea's Kospi ended flat at 2,722.85, while the small-cap Kosdaq gained 0.36% to end at 851.01.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was flat, while mainland China's CSI 300 index fell 0.73% to 3,609.17.

In a speech Monday, Olli Rehn, ECB governing council member and head of Finland's central bank, stressed inflation in the euro area was falling in a "sustained way." He added: "The time is thus ripe in June to ease the monetary policy stance and start cutting rates."

Inflation in the euro zone held steady at 2.4% in April, marking the seventh straight month it has been below 3%, despite a slight rebound in December. The data for May will be out Friday.

"Barring major surprises, at this point in time there is enough in what we see to remove the top level of restriction," ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane said in an interview with the Financial Times.

The comments come ahead of the central bank's next meeting on June 6. Markets are now indicating a very high chance of a quarter-percentage-point cut to the ECB's main rate, from 4% currently.

U.S. markets return to trade today after being closed Monday for Memorial Day, with stock futures for all three major indexes rising.

Futures for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.09%, while those tied to the S&P500 were up 0.13%. Nasdaq futures saw the most gains, rising 0.21%.

— CNBC's Katrina Bishop contributed to this report.

Tue, May 28 20241:16 AM EDT

India's Adani Group is reportedly in talks to expand into e-commerce and payments space

A sign for the Adani Group is seen in Mumbai, India, on Feb. 9, 2023.

Indranil Aditya | Bloomberg | Getty Images

India's Adani Group is in talks to expand into the country's e-commerce and payments space, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing four people familiar with the matter.

It will be competing with the likes of Google in the payments space and India's Reliance Industries on the e-commerce front, as the ports-to-retail conglomerate expands its operations in the world's most populous country.

The Financial Times reported Adani could apply for a license to operate on India's public digital payments platform, Unified Payments Interface, or UPI, and is also in talks with banks to finalize previously announced plans for a co-branded Adani credit card.

Adani is also in negotiations to offer online shopping through an Indian government-backed public e-commerce platform, Open Network for Digital Commerce, the Financial Times reported.

Separately, Adani is set to kick off several roadshows this week to raise up to $4 billion through equity and refinancing of older debt, Business Standard reported, citing banking sources.

— Shreyashi Sanyal, Financial Times

Mon, May 27 202410:06 PM EDT

Australian retail sales tick higher in April but miss expectations

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics said retail turnover rose 0.1% month on month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The reading was below a Reuters poll estimate of a 0.2% rise. Retail sales in April rose 1.3% from a year earlier.

"Underlying retail spending continues to be weak with a small rise in turnover in April not enough to make up for a fall in March," said Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

"Since the start of 2024, trend retail turnover has been flat as cautious consumers reduce their discretionary spending," Dorber added.

— Shreyashi Sanyal

Mon, May 27 20249:26 PM EDT

K-pop agency behind BTS reportedly pushing to sell part of its stake in rival SM Entertainment

South Korea's largest K-pop entertainment agency Hybe is reportedly pushing to sell part of the 12.45% stake it holds in its rival SM Entertainment.

According to South Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo, Hybe intends to make the transaction a block deal of 750,000 shares.

Shares of Hybe, the agency which manages popular boy band BTS, fell 2.26% while SM Entertainment shares were 4.8% lower on Tuesday.

Chosun Ilbo said Hybe decided on the sale because "it was a minority stake that had no influence on SM's management rights, it would be better to sell it in large quantities and realize profits."

According to the news outlet, the shares will be sold at a 4% to 5.5% discount to SM's last closing price of 95,800 South Korean won, which puts the total transaction value at about $50 million.

SM Entertainment did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

— Lim Hui Jie

Mon, May 27 20248:33 PM EDT

Japan services producer price index rises at fastest rate since March 2015

Japan's services producer price index rose 2.8% year on year in April, marking its fastest rise in nine years and providing another indicator of sustained inflation to the Bank of Japan.

The PPI was higher than the revised 2.4% in March, climbing for a second straight month.

The services PPI measures the average change in prices received by domestic producers.

— Lim Hui Jie

Mon, May 27 20247:30 PM EDT

CNBC Pro: Super Micro Computer shares were choppy after Nvidia earnings. Here's where analysts see it going

Mon, May 27 20247:30 PM EDT

CNBC Pro: Nvidia and more: Citi names its global stock picks to play the semiconductor boom

The global semiconductor industry is set to experience "groundbreaking changes," Citi said, naming stocks to play the theme."

"We believe semiconductor architecture will evolve towards the direction of memory and logic integration for AI computing," the investment bank's analysts noted.

Aside from Nvidia, Citi named five stocks to play the theme, and analysts give two of them at least 30% upside potential.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

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