What’s next for the stock market after the worst 1st half since 1970?

Nasdaq set for worst first-half on record


A bear market that began on the first trading day of 2022 has the S&P 500 on track for its worst first half in 52 years. Investors looking ahead to the end of the year might have some reason for hope, though history is only a rough guide.

The S&P 500 SPX was down 19.9% year-to-date through Wednesday’s close, which would be its worst first half since 1970, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

The large-cap benchmark is down 20.4% from its record finish on Jan. 3. The index earlier this month first ended more than 20% below that early January record, confirming that the pandemic bull market — as widely defined — had ended on Jan. 3, marking the start of a bear.

The S&P 500 has bounced around 4% off its 2022 low close of 3,666.77 set on June 16.

Data compiled by Dow Jones Market Data shows that the S&P 500 has bounced back after past first-half falls of 15% or more. The sample size, however, is small, with only five instances going back to 1932 (see table below).

S&P 500 second-half performance after a first-half fall of 15% or more DOW JONES MARKET DATA
S&P 500 second-half performance after a first-half fall of 15% or more DOW JONES MARKET DATA

The S&P 500 did rise in each of those instances, with an average rise of 23.66% and a median rise of 15.25%.

Investors, however, may also want to pay attention to metrics around bear markets, particularly with the will-it-or-won’t-it speculation around whether the Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening agenda will sink the economy into recession.

Indeed, an analysis by Wells Fargo Investment Institute found that recessions accompanied by a recession, on average, lasted 20 months and produced a negative 37.8% return.

Bear markets outside a recession lasted 6 months on average — nearly the length of the current episode — and saw an average return of -28.9%. Taken together, the average bear market lasted an average of 16 month and produced a -35.1% return.

Other major indexes are also set to log historic first-half declines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA was down 14.6% in the year to date through Wednesday, which would be its biggest first-half fall since 2008.

As the table below shows, the second-half performance for the blue-chip gauge after first-half declines of 10% or more are variable. The most recent incident, in 2008 during the worst of the financial crisis, saw the Dow drop another 22.68% in the second half of the year.

DJIA second-half performance after 10% fall in first half DOW JONES MARKET DATA
DJIA second-half performance after 10% fall in first half DOW JONES MARKET DATA

In the 15 instances, the Dow rallied in the second half two-thirds of the time, producing an average second-half rise of 4.45% and a median gain just shy of 7%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP was down 28.6% year-to-date through Tuesday’s finish, but there was little to go on when Dow Jones Market Data looked back at first-half drops of at least 20% for the gauge.

There were only two instances — 2002 and 1973 — and both saw the Nasdaq keep sliding over the remainder of the year, falling around 8.7% over the second half in both instances.

Source: marketwatch.com


* * * 2022.02.08 * * *

13,944 new cases bring total to 2,939,198

The Health Ministry reported 13,944new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday (Feb 8).

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah tweeted that this brought the cumulative infections in the country to 2,939,198.

The number of new cases according to state will be shared by the Health Ministry on its CovidNow portal.

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Source: The Star

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China pursues ‘self-reliance’ in making chips, fueling global unease

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 10:47 p.m. ET, By Associated Press

Semiconductor newbies Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi pledge to make China a global chip leader

To help make China a self-reliant “technology superpower,” the ruling Communist Party is pushing the world’s biggest e-commerce company to take on the tricky, expensive business of designing its own processor chips — a business unlike anything Alibaba Group has done before.

Its three-year-old chip unit, T-Head, unveiled its third processor in October, the Yitian 710 for Alibaba’s cloud computing business. Alibaba BABA says for now, it has no plans to sell the chip to outsiders.

Other rookie chip developers including Tencent, a games and social media giant, and smartphone brand Xiaomi are pledging billions of dollars in line with official plans to create computing, clean energy and other technology that can build China’s wealth and global influence.

Processor chips play an increasingly critical role in products from smartphones and cars to medical devices and home appliances. Shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic are disrupting global manufacturing and adding to worries about supplies.

The ARM-structure server processor Yitian 710, developed by Alibaba’s in-house semiconductor unit T-Head.
The ARM-structure server processor Yitian 710, developed by Alibaba’s in-house semiconductor unit T-Head.

Chips are a top priority in the ruling Communist Party’s marathon campaign to end China’s reliance on technology from the United States, Japan and other suppliers Beijing sees as potential economic and strategic rivals. If it succeeds, business and political leaders warn that might slow down innovation, disrupt global trade and make the world poorer.

“Self-reliance is the foundation for the Chinese nation,” President Xi Jinping said in a speech released in March. He called for China to become a “technology superpower” to safeguard “national economic security.”

“We must strive to become the world’s main center of science and the high ground of innovation,” Xi said.

Beijing might be chasing a costly disappointment. Even with huge official investments, businesspeople and analysts say chipmakers and other companies will struggle to compete if they detach from global suppliers of advanced components and technology — a goal no other country is pursuing.

“It’s hard to imagine any one country rebuilding all of that and having the best technology,” said Peter Hanbury, who follows the industry for Bain & Co.

Beijing’s campaign is adding to tension with Washington and Europe, which see China as a strategic competitor and complain it steals technology. They limit access to tools needed to improve its industries.

If the world were to decouple, or split into markets with incompatible standards and products, U.S.- or European-made parts might not work in Chinese computers or cars. Smartphone makers who have a single dominant global operating system and two network standards might need to make unique versions for different markets. That could slow down development.

Washington and Beijing need to “avoid that the world becomes separated,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press in September.

China’s factories assemble the world’s smartphones and tablet computers but need components from the United States, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Chips are China’s biggest import, ahead of crude oil, at more than $300 billion last year.

Official urgency over that grew after Huawei Technologies Ltd., China’s first global tech brand, lost access to U.S. chips and other technology in 2018 under sanctions imposed by the White House.

That crippled the telecom equipment maker’s ambition to be a leader in next-generation smartphones. American officials say Huawei is a security risk and might aid Chinese spying, an accusation the company denies.

Huawei and some Chinese rivals are close to matching Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. QCOM, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, and Britain’s ARM Ltd. at being able to design “bleeding edge” logic chips for smartphones, according to industry analysts.

But when it comes to making them, foundries such as state-owned SMIc in Shanghai are up to a decade behind industry leaders including TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., which produces chips for Apple Inc., and other global brands.

Even companies such as Alibaba that can design chips likely will need Taiwanese or other foreign foundries to make them. Alibaba’s Yitian 710 requires precision no Chinese foundry can achieve. The company declined to say which foreign producer it will use.

“My country still faces a big gap in chip technology,” said industry analyst Liu Chuntian of Zero Power Intelligence Group.

China accounts for 23% of global chip production capacity but only 7.6% of sales.

Packing millions of transistors onto a fingernail-size sliver of silicon requires some 1,500 steps, microscopic precision and arcane technologies owned by a handful of U.S., European, Japanese and other suppliers.

They include KLA Corp. in California for super-precise measurement and Japan’s TEL for machines to apply coatings a few molecules thick. Many are covered by restrictions on “dual use” technologies that can be used in weapons.

China “lags significantly” in tools, materials and production technology, the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a report this year.

Washington and Europe, citing security worries, block access to the most advanced tools Chinese chipmakers need to match global leaders in precision and efficiency.

Without those, China is falling farther behind, said Bain’s Hanbury.

“The TSMC horse is sprinting away and the Chinese horse is stopped,” he said. “They can’t move forward.”

Washington stepped up pressure on Huawei last year by barring global foundries from using American technology to produce its chips. U.S. vendors can sell chips to the company, but not for next-generation “5G” smartphones.

For its part, the European Union said it will review foreign investments after complaints China was eroding Europe’s technology lead by purchasing important assets such as German robot maker Kuka.

Alibaba’s Yitian 710 is based on architecture from Britain’s Arm, highlighting China’s enduring need for foreign know-how. Alibaba said it still will work closely with longtime foreign suppliers Intel, ARM, Nvidia Corp., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD.

T-Head’s first chip, the Hanguang 800, was announced in 2019 for artificial intelligence. Its second, the XuanTie 910, is for self-driving cars and other functions.

In November, Tencent Holding, which operates the WeChat messaging service, announced its first three chips for artificial intelligence, cloud computing and video.

Beijing says it will spend $150 billion from 2014 through 2030 to develop its chip industry, but even that is a fraction of what global leaders invest. TSMC plans to spend $100 billion in the next three years on research and manufacturing.

China is trying to buy experience by hiring engineers from TSMC and other Taiwanese producers. Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its territory and has threatened to attack, has responded by imposing curbs on job advertising.

Beijing encourages smartphone and other manufacturers to use suppliers within China, even if they cost more, but officials deny China wants to detach from global industries.

“We will never go back in history by seeking to decouple,” Xi said in a speech by video link to a November meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Malaysia.

The latest conflict is over photolithography, which uses ultraviolet light to etch circuits into silicon on a scale measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter.

The leader is ASML ASML, +1.25% in the Netherlands, which makes machines that can etch transistors just 5 nanometers apart. That would pack 2 million into a space one centimeter wide.

China’s SMIC is about one-third as precise at 14 nanometers. Taiwan’s TSMC is preparing to increase its precision to 2 nanometers.

SMIC wants to upgrade by purchasing ASML’s latest machine, but the Dutch government has yet to agree.

“We will wait for their decision,” said an ASML spokeswoman, Monica Mols, in an email.

Source: www.marketwatch.com


* * * 2021.12.31 * * *

Covid-19 Watch: 3,573 new cases bring total to 2,758,086

The Health Ministry reported 3,573 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (Dec 31).

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah tweeted that this brought the cumulative infections in the country to 2,758,086.

The number of new cases according to state will be shared by the Health Ministry on its CovidNow portal.

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Source: The Star

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* * * 2021.10.31 * * *

Covid-19 Watch: 4,979 new cases bring total to 2,471,642

Malaysia recorded another 4,979 Covid-19 cases, the Health Ministry reported on Sunday (Oct 31).

In a Twitter post, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said cumulatively, the country had recorded 2,471,642 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began.

The number of new cases according to states will be shared by the Health Ministry on its CovidNow portal.

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Source: The Star

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AirAsia makes move to become big tech player

25 August 2021

AirAsia Group Bhd is looking into making more acquisitions to turn the company into one of the region’s top players in the technology industry.

After executing a number of deals this year, including Gojek Thailand and Malaysia-based online food delivery platform DeliverEat, AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said he had a pipeline of plans to strengthen the group’s services and position at home as well as in the region.

“We are targeting another four to five acquisitions and it’s all about acquiring talent. For instance, DeliverEat has more than eight years experience in the delivery industry,” he told reporters at a virtual press conference after the launch of AirAsia ride-hailing service AirAsia Ride yesterday.

The acquisitions are part of the group’s digital transformation plan to become Asean’s top super app that currently offers food delivery, ride-hailing, flight ticket booking, grocery shopping and an e-commerce platform for beauty products.

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AirAsia rolls out ride-hailing service

24 August 2021

AirAsia Group Bhd has launched its very own ride-hailing services dubbed as Airasia ride as the airline industry continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic and travel bans.

The service is available on the Airasia.com application, which already offers services such as food and grocery delivery.

AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the group is also planning to roll out its ride-hailing service in other countries including Thailand and Indonesia.

“There are two phases of rollout with Malaysia as the first followed by Asean rollout.

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AirAsia’s Teleport buys Delivereat

19 August 2021

AirAsia’s digital logistics venture Teleport has signed an agreement to acquire 100% equity interest in local online food delivery platform Delivereat for US$9.8mil (RM41.52mil) to strengthen its delivery service in the country.

Teleport chief executive officer Pete Chareonwongsak (pic) said the acquisition would be satisfied via a combination of cash and the company’s shares.
Teleport chief executive officer Pete Chareonwongsak (pic) said the acquisition would be satisfied via a combination of cash and the company’s shares.

Teleport chief executive officer Pete Chareonwongsak (pic) said the acquisition would be satisfied via a combination of cash and the company’s shares.

He said the exercise would provide an opportunity for Teleport to grow its unique logistics ecosystem alongside Delivereat, which has carefully developed an extensive and cost-competitive delivery network over the last nine years.

Source: AirAsia’s Teleport buys Delivereat


* * * 2021.07.31 * * *

Malaysia recorded another record high of 17,786 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday (July 31), the Health Ministry has confirmed.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a tweet that the country’s total cumulative cases has now reached 1,113,272.

Selangor remained the state with the most cases, recording 6,400 new infections.

Cases in other states are as follows; Kuala Lumpur (1,962), Kedah (1,389), Johor (1,144), Sabah (1,035), Negri Sembilan (929), Terengganu, (883), Perak (775), Penang, (713), Melaka, (697), Pahang (653), Perak (596), Kelantan (580), Sarawak (485), Putrajaya (116), Perlis (16) and Labuan (11).

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Source: The Star

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* * * 2021.03.31 * * *

Malaysia recorded 1,482 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday (March 31), bringing the cumulative total to 345,500.

In a tweet, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were seven fatalities, bringing the death toll to 1,272.

Another 1,070 patients were discharged from medical facilities in the country, which means 329,624 people have recovered from the disease.

In total there are 14,604 active cases nationwide.

From this number, 164 are in intensive care units, with 81 requiring ventilation support.

Dr Noor Hisham also said Selangor topped the list of new infections, with 661 new Covid-19 cases recorded.

Penang and Sarawak also recorded cases in the hundreds with 200 and 176 cases, respectively.

In addition, four states recorded cases in the single digits – Labuan with eight, Putrajaya (three), Terengganu (two) and Perlis (one).

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Source: The Star

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