|Bid||25.80 x 1100|
|Ask||25.99 x 800|
|Day's range||25.85 - 25.99|
|52-week range||21.49 - 27.08|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||N/A|
|PE ratio (TTM)||54.87|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Hong Kong’s finance industry is thriving from the great divorce between the U.S. and China. Billion-dollar initial public offerings are on the horizon again, as New York-listed mainland companies seek a second home. The city’s blue-chip index has even revised its weighting rules so tech stocks can feature more prominently. But is this enough to rouse a sleepy stock market? While Hong Kong is on par with Shanghai in terms of total market capitalization, turnover pales in comparison, and it's practically a stagnant pool compared with the very liquid Shenzhen bourse. While mega IPOs are exciting, they are one-time events. Once bankers earn their fees and wave goodbye, trading could languish again.South Korea may offer some insights. One year ago, Seoul was still in a deep bear market, plagued by steep conglomerate discounts and historically low turnover. Now, it’s teeming with life. Since global markets started turning around in late March, the benchmark Kospi index has soared more than 40%, making it one of the world’s best performers.All of a sudden, Koreans, who dabbled in cryptocurrencies and all sorts of structured products, are frantically buying cash equities. Retail investors have single-handedly supported the main stock index as foreigners and domestic institutional investors sold.CLSA Ltd. recently conducted a fascinating study explaining what’s become one of the Kospi’s largest ownership changes in history. Survey data show a few usual suspects: historically low deposit rates, cheap valuations, and blow-ups in popular alternative investments, such as mezzanine convertible bonds and equity-linked securities. A liquidity crisis and global market meltdown have tamed Koreans’ taste for exotic products.But the most interesting finding is that investors are swapping their real estate holdings for stocks. This comes as President Moon Jae-in’s administration has made it harder to invest in residential property, with a recent ban on mortgage lending for anything valued over 1.5 billion won ($1.2 million). In the past few years, a series of tightening measures has worked: A flattening of home prices, along with dwindling sales volumes, dented investor sentiment.Apartments in Seoul were once considered one of Korea's best performing long-term assets. They registered a capital gain of 80.9% over the past 15 years, with flats in the affluent Gangnam district returning more than 200%, data provided by CLSA show. Yet property restrictions look set to remain as long as Moon’s around — and he’s not required to leave office until 2022. So people with money to invest have to look elsewhere. Samsung Electronics Co., which gained 443% over the same period, is a good alternative. Retail investors have poured $7.2 billion into the company’s shares this year. Many of the catalysts that drove Koreans to stocks are present in Hong Kong, too. Interest rates are even lower and high-profile stocks are landing, including NetEase Inc., while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. completed its secondary listing last year. Meanwhile, local investors can no longer count on HSBC Holdings Plc for reliable dividend payouts, forcing them to look at tech companies instead. It’s no coincidence that the retail portion of NetEase’s Hong Kong listing was met with brisk demand on the first day, enabling the company to increase its allotment to local investors. The missing piece, however, is real estate. As soon as Hong Kong loosened its social distancing rules in May, secondary home-sales prices ticked up, along with transaction volume. The Land Registry recorded 6,885 property deals in May, a 12-month high. The faith that this sector can outperform stocks hasn’t broken yet. For an equity market to shine, local retail participation is essential. Overseas institutional investors, the biggest contributors to Hong Kong’s turnover, come and go. Those from the mainland, now active players through the stock connect, are equally fickle, given they’re so used to liquidity-driven markets back home. So unless Hong Kong moms and pops can learn from the Koreans — trading away their flats in Gangnam for a slice of Samsung — the Hang Seng will remain asleep. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s the rise of the robots: Japan’s second-largest company is now a maker of industrial automation systems, highlighting the rising importance of a less visible sector to a nation long associated with consumer-facing brands.Keyence Corp., a maker of machine vision systems and sensors for factories, has jumped 19% this year to become Japan’s second-largest company by market value. At a valuation of over 11 trillion yen ($100 billion), it has overtaken telecommunications giants SoftBank Group Corp., and NTT Docomo Inc., which have jostled for the honor to sit behind Toyota Motor Corp. over most of the past decade.Keyence is famed for its dizzying profitability with an operating profit margin of more than 50%, among the country’s highest. That’s enabled by its “fabless” output model, according to analysts, with production of its array of pressure sensors, barcode readers and laser scanners outsourced to avoid high capital costs.Its industry-leading sales system creates bespoke solutions for clients, and its frequently listed as the highest-paying company in Japan. The surge in its shares has also benefited founder Takemitsu Takizaki, who has overtaken SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son by a good margin to become Japan’s second-richest man.“It’s got everything — high growth, high dividends and a high operating margin,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. “It’s the type of long-term stock you want to leave to your kids or your grandkids.”Keyence has more than tripled in market value since early 2016. “We feel the sense of expectation from our shareholders,” said Keyence director Keiichi Kimura when asked to comment on the milestone. “We’ll do our best to live up to those expectations.”The rise has also underscored how important the country’s parts and robot makers have become to the stock market, shown in the weighting of companies that make up the the country’s benchmark Topix index. Japan stocks were once dominated by banks and automakers — but years of zero rates which now dip into negative have hurt the profitability of the former, while the importance of the latter was declining even before the coronavirus sent the industry into reverse gear.The weighting of the Topix’s Electrical Appliance sector, also home to the likes of Sony Corp., Murata Manufacturing Co., and Fanuc Corp., has increased to almost 15%, the highest in about a decade, as the importance of the Banks and Transportation Equipment sectors have declined. The Information and Communication sector, headed by the five listed companies that dominate Japan’s mobile carriers, is the second-most heavily weighted segment.The growing presence of IT shares has also been a feature in the U.S. stock market, with the sector making up the highest proportion of the S&P 500 Index since the dot-com bubble burst. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified a trend for investors to prefer companies that eliminate humans from the process — a trend Keyence benefits from both with its fabless production model, and by enabling companies to automate their own production.“It’s a business model that grows the more factory automation throughout the world progresses,” said Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities’ Fujito.Founder Takizaki holds about 23% of Keyence’s shares, Bloomberg-compiled data show. For the Topix, which takes the free float of the shares into account in its weightings, those holdings mean Keyence is less heavily weighted than Sony, whose market value trails by comparison. Toyota the biggest company on the index, and even forecasting an 80% drop in profit this year, the automaker remains Japan’s largest business with a market value double that of Keyence.“We like Keyence as it outsources production instead of owning factories, allowing it to focus on R&D,” HSBC analysts including Helen Fang wrote in a May 26 report that initiated coverage of the company with a buy rating. “It also uses a direct-sales model that keeps it close to clients. This strategy means it can better capture market share in a widening array of industries and can focus on high-value client solutions.”While the coronavirus pandemic will depress profits this year, Nomura sees a recovery “to record-high profit levels” the following year and sees a record profit the next, analyst Masayasu Noguchi wrote in a report May 28 raising its target price on the stock.“It’s unclear how long the coronavirus pandemic will continue,” Keyence’s Kimura said. “The global uncertainty is likely to continue and in the midst of that we’ll continue to do what we can.”Factory Automation in Asia May Be First to Recover From PandemicThe notoriously tight-lipped Osaka-based company does not provide earnings guidance in its sparse quarterly disclosure. It’s an outlier in a country where companies are being encouraged to boost their transparency and communication with the market.“They are an efficiency-above-any-other kind of company, so doing extra that doesn’t result in revenue addition is probably less of a priority,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Takeshi Kitaura. “They think generally those following the company are happy when they manage solid earnings and growth.”Yoshiharu Izumi, an analyst at SBI Securities Co., says that Keyence holds talks with shareholders and that reassures investors, and doesn’t view the paucity of disclosure as a problem. “Keyence has overtaken Sony, which is extremely proactive in responding to shareholders,” he said. “When Keyence starts putting energy into disclosure, that might be the time to sell.”(Updates with quotes from Keyence from sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A., (HSBC), part of the HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, today announced it has partnered with RateReset to license its award-winning platform, KNOCK KNOCK. The platform, branded "EasyReset" for HSBC, allows the bank to reset existing Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans with the click of a button.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The deterioration of U.S.-China relations is fast and furious, with Washington throwing out accusations of unfair trade practices, unlawful technology transfer and an early cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed over 100,000 American lives. The Chinese yuan, this year’s beacon of stability, is now is now at risk of tumbling like other emerging markets currencies.On Wednesday, the offshore yuan, which trades freely, flirted with its weakest level on record, dropping as much as 0.7% to 7.1965. While Thursday morning’s yuan fix came in stronger than expected, the overall sentiment is downbeat.It’s tempting to theorize that a weaker yuan could become a powerful weapon in the new Cold War, yet there’s little evidence of foul play from the People’s Bank of China. Since mid-2017, the central bank has based its fixing on the previous day’s close, dollar movement overnight against a currency basket, and what it calls the “countercyclical factor," a catch-all metric that grants wiggle room to deviate from market fundamentals. The yuan can move in a 2% trading range around the PBOC’s daily target.Take a look at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s estimate of the countercyclical factor. Over the last year, the PBOC has been consistently guiding its yuan stronger, not weaker, to artificially track the dollar. For all the theatrics of getting labeled a currency manipulator, Beijing wasn’t making its exports any cheaper.What’s new this year is the PBOC’s Zen-like attitude. Rather than playing the heroic fireman, handling one crisis after another, the central bank has been largely hands-off. It has used the countercyclical factor in a meaningful way only twice since January, on Feb. 4 when China emerged from the Lunar New Year holiday to face a national lockdown, and at the end of March when the outbreak was shaking up global markets.And why should the PBOC adhere to the dollar anyway? The coronavirus downturn has only showcased America’s exceptionalism — it prints the world’s reserve currency. Haven demand for the dollar has surged, evidenced by soaring currency swap rates from the euro zone to South Korea, and the Federal Reserve’s scramble to re-establish swap lines with other central banks. Looking back to 2008, the greenback only started to weaken two months after demand for “emergency dollars” peaked, data provided by Deutsche Bank AG show.So it makes sense for China to adopt a more enlightened approach, allowing the yuan to weaken during periods of dollar strength, and catch up when global tensions recede. From the PBOC’s view, the trade-weighted yuan is certainly stronger now than it was last fall, when the central bank was in fire-fighting mode. China doesn’t want to spend another $1 trillion of its foreign reserves defending its currency. The rapid drawdown in 2015 and 2016 traumatized the Chinese for good.To be sure, the pressure of capital outflows is still there. Just look at the consistent negative value of the “net error and omissions” figures in China’s balance of payment data. However, here’s the beauty of the virus: The Chinese can’t go anywhere. They can’t come to Hong Kong to buy insurance products, and unless you’re ultra-rich (with private bankers around the world apartment-hunting for you), Manhattan real estate is off-limits. The PBOC has less to worry about than before.So now the market can test the true value of the yuan. It could easily drop below 7.30 if the phase one trade deal breaks down and the Trump administration imposes some of the tariffs it had previously threatened, estimates HSBC Holdings Plc.Long-time China bear Kyle Bass abandoned his yuan short in early 2019 for the greenback-pegged Hong Kong dollar. He didn’t profit from his yuan trade because the PBOC established powerful tools, such as selling yuan-denominated bills in the offshore market, to kill anyone betting against the currency. Now that their interests are becoming aligned, it’s time for the bears to wake up.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shuli Ren is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian markets. She previously wrote on markets for Barron's, following a career as an investment banker, and is a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC today announced the launch of the AI Powered US Equity Index (AiPEX) family, the market’s first to use AI as a method for equity investing
(Bloomberg) -- The chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., fighting extradition to the U.S., gets her first shot at release this week in a case that’s triggered an unprecedented diplomatic tussle between the U.S., China and Canada.On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of British Columbia is set to release a decision on whether Meng Wanzhou’s case meets a key threshold of Canada’s extradition law. If Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes rules that it fails to meet that test, Meng could be released from house arrest in Vancouver. If not, extradition proceedings will continue.The case was triggered when Meng was arrested on a U.S. handover request in December 2018 during a routine stopover at Vancouver airport, a city where she owns two homes and often spent summer holidays. The fallout has since spanned three countries.Meng, the eldest daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei, has become the highest profile target of a broader U.S. effort to contain China and its largest technology company, which Washington sees as a national security threat.China has accused Canada of abetting “a political persecution” against a national champion. In the weeks after her arrest, China put two Canadians -- Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig -- in jail, halted billions of dollars in Canadian imports and put two other Canadians on death row, plunging China-Canada relations into their darkest period in decades. U.S. President Donald Trump muddied the legal waters further when he indicated early on that he might try to intervene in her case to boost a China trade deal.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- caught between his country’s two biggest trading partners -- has resisted any such attempt to interfere in the high-stakes proceedings, saying the rule of law will govern Meng’s case.“Canada has an independent judicial system that functions without interference or override by politicians,” Trudeau said last week in response to comments by the Chinese ambassador that Meng’s case was the biggest thorn in Canada-China relations. “China doesn’t work quite the same way and doesn’t seem to understand that we do have an independent judiciary.”China’s foreign ministry urged Meng’s release at a regular briefing in Beijing Tuesday, saying the U.S. and Canada had “abused their bilateral agreement on extradition.”“Canada should correct its mistake and immediately release Meng Wanzhou and ensure her safe return to China to avoid continuous damage of China-Canada relations,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. He said the rights of Kovrig and Spavor had been “guaranteed and protected.”Escalating FightMeng, 48, faces tough odds: of the 798 U.S. extradition requests received since 2008, Canada has refused or discharged only eight cases, or 1%, according to Canada’s Department of Justice.Whether she goes free or continues her battle against U.S. extradition, the ruling is likely to further escalate the fight between Washington and Beijing, increasingly at loggerheads over everything from the coronavirus pandemic to the status of Taiwan and Hong Kong to trade and investment.Huawei continues to play a central role in those tensions. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department barred chipmakers using American equipment from supplying Huawei without U.S. government approval, closing a loophole in an effort to cut the Chinese company off from essential supplies used in its phones and networking gear. The move drew condemnation from Beijing and warnings from Huawei’s rotating chairman, Guo Ping, that the latest U.S. curbs on its business would cause the whole industry to “pay a terrible price.”The U.S. government has lobbied its allies, including Canada, to ban Huawei from next-generation 5G networks, saying its equipment would make such infrastructure vulnerable to spying by the Chinese government. Despite that, the U.K. said in January it would allow Huawei a limited role. But in recent days, British media have reported the government is backtracking and preparing to end Huawei’s presence by 2023.Trudeau has been stalling on Canada’s decision with the fates of Spavor and Kovrig hanging in the balance. The two detainees have been confined for more than 500 days without access to lawyers. In contrast, Meng was photographed by CBC News on Saturday as she posed with nearly a dozen colleagues and friends -- social distancing rules to fight the virus notwithstanding -- displaying victory signs in front of the courthouse.The pursuit of Meng by U.S. authorities predates the Trump administration: officials were building a case against her since at least 2013, according to court documents in her case. Central to the case are allegations that Meng committed fraud by lying to HSBC Holdings Plc and tricking the bank into conducting Iran-related transactions in breach of U.S. sanctions.Wednesday’s ruling will focus on whether the case meets the so-called double criminality test: would Meng’s alleged crime have also been a crime in Canada?Her defense has argued that the U.S. case is, in reality, a sanctions-violations complaint framed as fraud in order to make it easier to extradite her. Had Meng’s alleged conduct taken place in Canada, the transactions by HSBC wouldn’t violate any Canadian sanctions, they say. The U.S. bank and wire fraud charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison on conviction.If the ruling goes against her, Meng’s next court hearings are scheduled for June and are set to continue to at least the end of the year. Appeals could lengthen the process for years longer.(Updates with China foreign ministry comment from eighth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. ("HSBC USA"), part of HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies, has provided a $2 million grant to Feeding America® to help combat food insecurity and ease increased demand on food banks across the country. Additionally, through grants to small businesses, employee-led volunteer programs, the American Red Cross and the Center for an Urban Future, HSBC USA is providing more than $4 million in total to help battle the current global pandemic in the United States.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Goodbye, high-yield savings accounts. We hardly knew you.For years, the oxymoronic products were a resounding success for both consumers and financial institutions alike. After getting almost zero interest from big U.S. banks, individuals who parked their excess cash with the likes of Ally Financial Inc., Barclays Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s consumer bank, Marcus, or HSBC Holdings Plc’s HSBC Direct were suddenly bringing in a comparatively bountiful 2% or more around this time last year. At that point, the Federal Reserve had raised its short-term interest rate for what would be the final time this cycle in December 2018. The rest is history. First, the Fed felt compelled to lower interest rates three times from July through October to offset the economic impacts from the Trump administration’s trade wars. That, as I noted in an October column, brought prevailing high-yield savings rates dangerously close to the fed funds rate. And yet, in early 2020, Marcus users could still lock in that 2% magic number by opting for a no-penalty certificate of deposit.Then the coronavirus happened. This chart says it all: As it’s plain to see, there’s now a chasm between the fed funds rate and the going rates on some top high-yield savings accounts. The banks have so far moved lower gradually, likely to avoid sticker shock that would cause their customers to take their deposits elsewhere. But even with online banking’s cost-saving advantages over more typical brick-and-mortar institutions, they can’t defy gravity forever. Eventually, rates will have to head closer to the zero lower bound. These savings accounts will still hang around but will hardly seem to fit the moniker of “high yield.”Marcus announced the cut to its savings rate on May 8 with this message:“Effective today, the rate on our Marcus high-yield Online Savings Account has been adjusted down to 1.30% from 1.55% APY. We understand that this isn’t welcome news. During this unprecedented time, please know that the rate on our Marcus Online Savings Account remains highly competitive with an APY that’s still 4X the national average. You can rest assured that we continue our commitment to providing value and helping your money grow.”“For a guaranteed return, consider adding a fixed-rate No-Penalty CD. You’ll earn a high-yield rate with the flexibility to withdraw you balance beginning 7 days after funding. Our 7-month No-Penalty CD currently earns 1.55%.”The marketing is top-notch. First, it’s transparent about being bad news, but then quickly pivots to play up that Marcus still provides comparatively more interest than accounts at Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The announcement also wastes no time suggesting a no-penalty CD to make up for the lost interest (and, in a benefit to Goldman, create a “stickier” deposit). Marcus is a relatively new venture for Goldman, and it seems reasonable to assume the investment bank will operate it with Chief Executive Officer David Solomon’s “evolutionary path” in mind. Goldman is looking to diversify away from historically volatile trading revenue, much like its Wall Street rival Morgan Stanley. If it means running Marcus with tight margins to keep customers in the fold, so be it.A bank like Ally, on the other hand, may have less flexibility. Heading into this year, it was fresh off of an upgrade by S&P Global Ratings to BBB-, one step above junk. That upswing didn’t last long; it was one of 13 banks that S&P put on negative outlook earlier this month. Analysts said it “could be more sensitive to the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic than the average U.S. bank. We attribute this sensitivity to Ally's sizable concentration in auto lending that may face heightened risk of financial distress in the current economic environment.” Also a risk: “Ultra-low interest rates will weigh on net interest income,” which accounts for more than 70% of Ally’s net revenue.Ally, for its part, also knows how to sell itself. “People don’t want to hear messages that are depressing and that add to their anxiety,” Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing officer at Ally, told the Financial Brand in an article published last week. “They want to hear optimism and they want to hear about purposeful ideas that make them feel like the world is going to kind of get back to normal.” The theme of a campaign promoting its savings options: “Is your money not sure what to do with itself?”Whether Ally, Barclays, Marcus or HSBC are the answer to that is an open question. As it stands, these interest rates barely cover the market-implied inflation rate over the next 10 years. That’s somewhat by design, of course — the Fed cuts rates in part to encourage borrowing and purchases of riskier assets, both of which boost the economy more than parking cash in a high-yield savings account. Stocks, however, seem increasingly detached from the current economic reality. In that sense, Ally’s focus on being unsure might resonate with individual investors.Future interest rates on high-yield savings accounts are on equally shaky ground. While there’s not much in the way of precedent, it’s safe to say they’ll continue to offer more than the rock-bottom rates on money-market funds. Banks will probably do whatever they can to delay going below 1%, a round number that could be the last straw for some individuals. Other than those parameters, though, anything is possible; such is life at the zero lower bound.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (HSBC), part of HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, today announced that it ranked among DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies, earning a spot on the coveted list for the eighth year. The bank was also recognized as one of the Top Companies for Employee Resource Groups (ERG)— ranking sixth, the highest of any financial services organization on the list.