Asia markets fall as investors weigh Yellen remarks on banks; Japan core inflation slows
Treasury Secretary Yellen says emergency actions to backstop banks could be used again if needed
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that the federal emergency actions used to backstop Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank customers could be used again if necessary.
“We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion. And they are tools we could use again,” Yellen said in written testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee.
“The strong actions we have taken ensure that Americans’ deposits are safe,” she added. “Certainly, we would be prepared to take additional actions if warranted.”
Her comments come as regulators have aimed to reassure customers and investors amid the banking crisis that was promoted by Silicon Valley Bank’s closure.
— Alex Harring, Christina Wilkie
Japan’s core inflation falls from January peak
Japan’s core inflation reading fell from its January peak of 4.2% to 3.1% year-on-year in February, government data showed Friday.
The reading matches expectations of economists surveyed by Reuters.
Overall, nationwide inflation was at 3.3% for the month compared to a year ago, also lower than the January print of 4.3%.
The economy’s consumer price index excluding fresh food and energy also rose 3.5% for the month year-on-year.
— Jihye Lee
CNBC Pro: Why one fund manager has never owned a bank stock — and reveals what he looks for instead
Some investors are tiptoeing back into bank stocks after last week’s selloff, but fund manager Ian Mortimer is steering clear.
In fact, he has never owned a bank stock in any of his funds. He reveals why on CNBC Pro Talks.
Pro subscribers can read more here.
CNBC Pro: Wall Street downgrades European banks and names stocks to buy “in case markets turn sour”
Wall Street is downgrading European banks after stresses in the sector led to the emergency merger of two large Swiss banks.
Two investments also upgraded another sector and named a dozen stocks to own “in case markets turn sour”.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Ganesh Rao
Jobless claims come in below expectations
Jobless claims unexpectedly nudged lower last week, pointing to a labor market that remains extremely tight.
Initial filings for unemployment insurance totaled 191,000 for the week ended March 18, below the estimate for 198,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was a decline of 1,000 from the previous period.
Continuing claims, which run a week behind, rose by 14,000 to 1.694 million.
Stock market futures edged lower following the data release.
Tech shares lead market higher
Tech shares outperformed Thursday, with the Nasdaq-100 index surging more than 1.4%. Netflix was among the best performers, jumping roughly 7%. Shares of Meta Platforms, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft also jumped more than 1%.
Cryptocurrency prices rebound Thursday afternoon
Cryptocurrency prices jumped on Thursday as investors became optimistic that the Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking campaign would soon come to an end. Wall Street also shed some of its fears regarding the ongoing crisis in the banking system.
The price of bitcoin rose more than 4% to $28,290.71, according to Coin Metrics. Ether added nearly 5% to trade at $1,822.50.
Crypto rose with other risk assets. All three of the major stock indexes were higher on the day following their Fed-induced sell-off in the previous session.
Check out the full story here.
— Tanaya Macheel, Hakyung Kim
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