China vows zero tolerance towards illegal market behavior – Reuters

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will show “zero tolerance” towards securities and accounting fraud and will step up a crackdown on major capital-markets crimes, financial regulators said after a meeting of the Financial Stability Development Committee.

The meeting on Sunday was chaired by Vice Premier Liu He, the cabinet-equivalent State Council said in a statement.

The regulators said they would toughen penalties and establish a crime-busting team with relevant agencies to strengthen cooperation.

They would also deepen the reform of the market’s delisting mechanism to weed out bad companies from the country’s stock markets.

China has been trying to limit the country’s reputational damage after accounting scandals at companies including Kangmei Pharmaceutical (600518.SS) and Kangde Xin Composite Material Group (002450.SZ).

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSR) on Friday punished GF Securities Co (000776.SZ) (1776.HK) for its role in the $12.6 billion financial fraud at drugmaker Kangmei.

GF Securities was banned from the securities-sponsor business for six months, and from bond underwriting for a year.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Samuel Shen; Editing by Stephen Coates

Stock futures rise to start week ahead of earnings season – Fox Business

U.S. equity futures are pointing to a higher open as Wall Street prepares for the start of earnings season with results expected from the big banks.

The major futures indexes are suggesting a rise of 0.7 percent when the Monday trading session begins.

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Corporate earnings will be in focus starting this week with the financial sector.

On Tuesday, heavyweights like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley will come later in the week.

In Asian markets, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei climbed 2.2 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 1.8 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE is rising 0.9 percent, Germany’s DAX added 0.8 percent and France’s CAC is gaining 0.8 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks had rallied at the end of a week of volatile trading amid worries that rising coronavirus counts may halt the recent upswing in share prices.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 26075.3 +369.21 +1.44%
SP500 S&P 500 3185.04 +32.99 +1.05%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 10617.443394 +69.69 +0.66%

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4 percent, while the Nasdaq composite added 0.7 percent to a new high.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent, logging a 1.8 percent rise for the week, its second straight weekly gain.

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In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 80 cents to $39.77 a barrel. It rose 93 cents to $40.55 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude also fell 77 cents to $42.47 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Alibabas Jack Ma sells $8.2 billion worth shares, stake dips to 4.8%: filing – Yahoo Finance

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd co-founder Jack Ma has cut his stake in the company over the past year to 4.8% from 6.2%, cashing out around $8.2 billion at its current share price, the firm’s annual filing released on Friday showed.

The divestment comes as Ma retired as the Chinese e-commerce company’s executive chairman in September and pulled back from formal business roles to focus on philanthropy.

Alibaba did not disclose the average selling price of his divestment. Its share price has risen around 40% since Ma reported his 6.2% holding in the company a year ago.

The stock’s stellar performance has been helped by forecast-beating earnings growth, even as China’s economy sharply slows, as more people shop online for essentials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai also reduced his stake in the company over the same period, to 1.6% from 2.2%. The offloaded shares were worth $3.3 billion as of Friday.

Both Ma and Tsai have been steadily less involved in Alibaba’s regular operations since Daniel Zhang was announced as Ma’s successor as company chairman. He assumed that role formally in September 2019.

Throughout this year, the two have donated millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) via their individual charity arms to hospitals worldwide to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

An April 2019 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Ma would plan to sell up to 21 million shares within one year to support his philanthropic efforts.

(This story corrects Jack Ma’s share sale to $8.2 bln, his original stake to 6.2%, Tsai’s sale to $3.3 bln and his original stake to 2.2%.)

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Christopher Cushing)

Chipmaker Analog Devices to buy Maxim Integrated in an all-stock deal worth $21 billion – CNBC

U.S. semiconductor maker Analog Devices said on Monday it offered to buy Maxim Integrated Products, an industry peer, for $20.91 billion in an all-stock deal.

Under the terms, Maxim stockholders will receive 0.630 of a share of Analog Devices stock for each share of Maxim common stock they hold at the closing of the transaction, the companies said in a statement.

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Asian shares climb, U.S. earnings to test dogged optimism – Reuters

LONDON/SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares were approaching a five-month peak and the dollar slipped on Monday as investors wagered the earnings season would see most companies beat forecasts given expectations had been lowered by coronavirus lockdowns.

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

The U.S. earnings season kicks off this week with major Wall Street banks JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reporting on Tuesday. It’s expected to be the second-biggest quarterly earnings drop since 1968, according to Refinitiv data.

“There’s a view that the bar has been set pretty low for them to report the almost obligatory ‘better than expected’ results – the absence of forward guidance from many firms notwithstanding,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.8% as Chinese stocks jumped 2.1% on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei gained 2.2% and South Korea 1.7%.

The optimism carried over to Europe, where stocks rose 1%, even as the U.S. on Friday slapped additional duties of 25% on French luxury goods valued at $1.3 billion, in a tit-for-tat response to France’s digital services tax.

MSCI’s All-Country World Index was just shy of hitting Feb. 26 highs. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ticked 0.5% higher despite record new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. over the weekend, a divergence that shows no sign of stopping.

“Ongoing grim U.S. COVID-19 infection news continues to be summarily ignored in favour of ongoing optimism regarding the time-line for the discovery and rapid roll-out of an effective vaccine and/or more policy support for asset prices and the U.S. economy,” Attrill said.

The risk-on rally saw the U.S. dollar dip 0.2% against a basket of major currencies after three straight weeks of losses.

The euro, meanwhile, rose 0.2% to $1.132 to maintain its slow uptrend since late last month. Looming large for the common currency was a planned EU summit on July 17-18, where leaders need to bridge gaps on long-term budget and economic stimulus plans. [FRX/]

“If an agreement weren’t to be reached there, then they still expect one within weeks. It’s worth remembering that there are number of complex issues to be worked out,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.

Safe-haven German yields rose slightly, and Italy’s 10-year yield hit the highest level in over a week at 1.33% in early trade as investors bagged profits after the recent rush to safety cooled.

Yields on U.S. 10-year notes came close to record lows last week at 0.569% and were last at 0.63%.

Super-low rates have in turn been a boon for non-yielding gold which hit a near nine-year high after five straight weeks of gains. The metal was last at $1,807 an ounce, just off a $1,817.17 top.

The hunt for yield has tended to benefit emerging market currencies and those leveraged to commodities such as the Australian dollar, while weighing on the U.S. dollar.

Oil prices eased in early trade, although that followed a sharp rise on Friday when the International Energy Agency (IEA) bumped up its 2020 demand forecast. [O/R]

Brent crude futures dipped 49 cents to $42.75 a barrel, while U.S. crude lost 52 cents to $40.03.

Graphic: Global earnings 2020 forecast here

Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 here

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Ed Osmond