Asia-Pacific Markets Mixed as Investors Assess Australia's Rate Pause

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This is CNBC's live blog covering Asia-Pacific markets.

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed as investors further assessed the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to hold its rates steady at 4.10%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 pared earlier losses and rose 0.45% to end its session at 7,279. The Australian dollar weakened 0.3% to 0.665 against the U.S. dollar.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 retreated from a new 33-year high recorded on Monday, falling 0.98% to 33,422.53, with the Topix also recording a smaller loss of 0.62% to close at 2,306.37.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.35% to close at 2,593.31 as the country's consumer price index grew at a slower rate of 2.7% in June. The latest reading marked a fifth straight month of decline, inching closer to the central bank's target range.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose fractionally to close at 3,245.35 while the Shenzhen Component gained 0.35% to end at 11,130.30.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also rose 0.61% in its final hour of trade led by energy and industrial stocks. The Hang Seng Tech index rose 0.7%.

Overnight in the U.S., all three major indexes climbed in a shortened trading session ahead of Independence Day.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.21% and the S&P 500 advanced0.12%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.03%.

U.S. markets will resume trading on Wednesday.

— CNBC's Alex Harring, Samantha Subin, and Fred Imbert contributed to this report

Sri Lankan stocks jump nearly 6% after government passes debt bill

Sri Lankan stocks rose after its parliament approved a domestic debt restructuring plan over the weekend.

Colombo's CSE All Share Index jumped 5.7% after the nation's parliament passed the plan that was required for a $2.9 billion bailout package by the International Monetary Fund.

Sri Lanka's total debt has exceeded $83 billion, the Associated Press reported, including foreign debt of $41.5 billion and $42.1 billion of domestic debt.

— Jihye Lee

Australia's central bank leaves its key rate unchanged

Australia's central bank held its official cash rate steady at 4.10% in a closely watched decision Tuesday.

Economists were split on expectations ahead of the decision, with 16 out of 31 respondents surveyed by Reuters forecasting a hike of 25 basis points and 15 expecting the central bank to hold.

Stocks cheered the move as the central bank said inflation in the economy has "passed its peak."

"Some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returns to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that will depend upon how the economy and inflation evolve," RBA governor Philip Lowe said in a statement.

"Inflation is still too high and will remain so for some time yet," he said.

— Jihye Lee

China germanium producer shares soar after Beijing announced export curbs

Shares of Chinese germanium producers soared on Tuesday after China restricted the exports of two metals key to the manufacturing of semiconductors, its commerce ministry said late Monday.

At the midday trading break, Yunnan Lincang Xinyuan Germanium Industrial surged by the 10% limit in Shenzhen, while Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium pared earlier gains but was still 7.5% higher. Both are outperforming the 0.1% gain for the CSI 300 index of China's largest A-share listings.

— Clement Tan

Economists split on Reserve Bank of Australia's rate decision

Economists polled by Reuters were split on expectations ahead of the central bank's decision, with 16 out of 31 respondents forecasting a hike of 25 basis points and 15 expecting the central bank to hold.

The central bank in minutes from its June meeting said inflation risks have "shifted somewhat to the upside."

It added that the inflation rate's return to the central bank's price stability target range of 2 to 3% was "already drawn out."

The RBA's monthly inflation indicator showed some cooling in the inflation rate, standing at 5.6% for the month of May, led by housing prices, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

— Jihye Lee

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley says 4 cybersecurity giants will benefit from a $30 billion A.I. trend

Morgan Stanley has named four cybersecurity stocks expected to benefit from the increasing use of artificial intelligence.

The bank expects these four tech giants to help cut down on cybersecurity costs at companies by levering A.I. and potentially profit from the $100 billion in total savings expected.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: These global and U.S. stocks are set to soar further after a strong first half, analysts say

U.S. and global stocks rallied in the first half of this year, and analysts expect some to continue to soar over the rest of 2023 and beyond.

CNBC Pro screened for U.S. and global stocks that are among the top performers over the year to date -- up over 15% — with an average analyst price target that implies upside of at least 30% over the next 12 months. All of the stocks have a buy rating from at least 60% of analysts covering them.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

South Korea's inflation slows for fifth straight month to 2.7%

South Korea's inflation rate slowed for a fifth straight month to rise 2.7% year-on-year in June, the lowest since October 2021.

This was slower than the 2.85% expected by economists polled by Reuters, as well as the 3.3% recorded in May.

South Korea's central bank was one of the first major Asian banks to halt its tightening cycle, with its benchmark interest rate held at 3.5% since January.

A Reuters poll shows economists expect the Bank of Korea to start cutting rates in the final quarter of the year before delivering further cuts in mid-2024.

— Lim Hui Jie

Stocks should have a hot July, history shows

If history is a guide, equities should continue to move higher in July. The month as been the best one of the year since 2009 for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq and the second best month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The S&P has a monthly average gain for July of 3.29% since 2009, while the Nasdaq has rallied an average 4.10%. The Dow's average monthly gain of 2.76% for the month is only slightly lower than the 2.89% it gained in November, the blue chip index's best month of the year since 2009.

None of the indexes has had a decline for the month of July since 2014.

— Robert Hum, Michelle Fox

The Nasdaq notched its best first half in 40 years. These are the biggest winners

Technology stocks stole the show in the first half of 2023, rallying on the promise of artificial intelligence and a rotation back into the sector after a rough 2022.

The moves boosted the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite 31.7% for its best start to the year since 1983, while the Nasdaq 100 clutched its largest first half gain on record.

Semiconductor stocks reigned among the biggest Nasdaq 100 winners. Nvidia surged more than 189% to post the largest first-half gain as Wall Street labeled it a dominant AI chipmaker. Advanced Micro Devices jumped about 76%, while Marvell Technology and Broadcom surged more than 55% each.

Struggling big technology stocks rounded out the top ten best performers, with Meta Platforms soaring 138.5% to post the second-biggest move in the index. Tesla bounced 112.5%, while Amazon gained 55.2%.

Not every company benefited from the market's broad uptrend in the first half. China-based e-commerce stock suffered the most extreme losses in the index, sinking 39%. Solar stock Enphase Energy also underperformed, tumbling nearly 37%. Some other prominent losers included healthcare and pharmaceutical stocks Moderna, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Amgen, along with a handful of consumer staple names.

— Samantha Subin

Wall Street volatility is lower in the first half of the year

Investors have signaled a steadier hand for Wall Street heading into the second half of the year.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has declined more than 36% from the start of the year, as investors have seemingly become more comfortable with the current trajectory after notching a positive first half of the year.

The VIX is a touted as a key gauge of market variability and investor fear. Investors had been eyeing a breakdown in the VIX to potentially signal a breakout for the S&P 500 after falling to its lowest level since November of 2021 in April.

Still, fully interpreting what the VIX could be signaling often proves difficult, given that it measures near-term put and call options activity for the S&P 500.

— Brian Evans

More than 75 S&P 500 constituents hit fresh highs during Friday’s rally

Friday's bounce to close out the first half saw 76 stocks in the S&P 500 jump to fresh 52-week highs.

The broad-market index jumped 1.2% on Friday. The tech sector was the strongest performer, up 1.8%, buoyed by Apple, Fortinet, On Semiconductor and Palo Alto Networks – all of which popped to all-time highs that day.

With all 11 sectors positive, an array of stocks in different corners of the market also jumped to new highs, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald's, Eli Lilly and Cintas.

Darla Mercado, Chris Hayes

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