Japan stocks are up in early Monday trading

The nation is grappling with a historic flood
Chief Investment Office09 Jul 2018
Photo credit: AFP Photo


Flooding and landslides throughout western Japan have killed at least 66 people, forced thousands from their homes, knocked out electricity, and halted operations at companies ranging from Panasonic Corporation to Amazon.com Inc.

The death toll from what is described as “historical rainfall” nearly tripled Sunday (8 July) from Saturday (7 July), with local television showing overflowing rivers, submerged vehicles, collapsed roads, and homes crushed under landslides. More than 40 people were missing, while evacuation orders remained in place for 4.3m people, according to Kyodo News. The government maintained flood warnings on Sunday as rain continued to fall. More than 1,000 people were stranded and awaiting rescue in Kurashiki, Okayama, a popular tourist town known, NHK reported. Casualties in Hiroshima prefecture were heaviest with 28, followed by Aichi prefecture at 18, according to Kyodo.

Power outages knocked out connectivity for NTT Docomo Inc users in areas from Kyoto to Hiroshima, the carrier said in a statement. Amazon stopped work at a distribution centre in Okayama prefecture on Saturday. Operations restarted early Sunday after truck passages were cleared, according to a company spokesman.

Panasonic halted production of video cameras at a plant in Okayama city, the Nikkei reported. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation halted operations at its Okayama plant as it was unable to procure parts, while Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd, a mini-vehicle making unit of Toyota Motor Corporation, said it had suspended production at two plants in Osaka and Kyoto for the same reason, Kyoto reported. Mazda Motor Corporation halted weekend production at a factory in Hiroshima, a company representative said on Sunday.

Kyushu Electric Power Co Ltd’s Sendai No 1 nuclear reactor was operating normally, according to the company’s website. Calls to the company were not answered outside normal hours.

Sony Corporation reported no damage across the company, including at plants that produce smartphone camera chips for Apple Inc, according to a company spokesman.

A total of 208 convenience stores or supermarkets were not operating throughout western Japan, the country’s trade ministry said early Sunday. – Bloomberg News.

The country’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.33% at the open on Monday (9 July). The index climbed 1.12% to 21,788.14 on Friday, spurred by a rise in US markets overnight even though US tariffs against China kicked in.


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Europe stocks edged lower after China said it’s retaliating to US President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs that kicked in Friday (6 July). Carmakers and miners declined as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index inched 0.20% higher to 382.36, while defensive stocks including utilities and food companies were among the gainers, underscoring the cautious mood. Deutsche Bank AG rose on speculation of takeover bids.

UK Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy Steve Baker quit the government on Sunday (8 July) in what threatens to be a major blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s authority.

The resignations come just two days after May secured the backing of her cabinet for a plan to keep close ties to the European Union (EU) after leaving the bloc. Davis and Baker, both longstanding eurosceptics, decided they could not support the policy, a person familiar with the matter said. May’s office confirmed that Davis had resigned but had no comment yet on the reasons.

The pound weakened slightly on the news. – Bloomberg News.

Click here to read DBS’s 3Q18 outlook for Europe Equities.

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Technology beat the trade war, for a day at least. US stocks rose in light trading Friday (6 July) as biotech shares drove gains following a report that Biogen Inc’s Alzheimer’s drug showed positive results in a large clinical trial. The dollar extended losses and Treasuries climbed as investors assessed a mixed jobs report and the impact of an escalating trade rift with China.

All major US equity benchmarks were higher. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.85% to 2,759.82 on Friday to clinch its biggest weekly increase in a month, following the release of the employment report, which showed US hiring topped forecasts in June. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.34% to 7,688.39 with biotech firms, chipmakers, and software and tech hardware companies leading the way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.41% to 24,456.48.

Volume was soft, with trading in S&P 500 stocks 23% below normal and Dow Jones Industrial Average shares 32% off their daily average. The dollar was lower and Treasuries rose as traders tried to determine how the Federal Reserve will react to the jobs report showing wage increases slowing. – Bloomberg News.


Click here to read DBS’s 3Q18 outlook for US Equities.

Click here to read DBS’s 3Q18 outlook for the US Economy.

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