ASX surges; Aussie rebounds from crash

Dollar starts 2019 strong, safety bid lifts yen

The firm's shares - already down about a third from their record high in March - dived seven percent in after-hours trading.

The ASX has surged ahead with across-the-board gains, while the Aussie dollar has mostly rebounded from a flash crash that hit many major currencies.

While more fiscal and monetary policy support had been expected in coming months on top of modest measures previous year, some analysts wonder if more forceful stimulus will be needed to stabilise the world's second-largest economy.

In Asia, tech-related stocks suffered most.

The step "is aimed at getting banks of all sizes to lend to SMEs through offering incentives, and is part of the government's pledge to support private investment", analysts at Everbright Sun Hung Kai said in a note.

"The algos have just followed this all the way down", he said.

"All of that culminated in the idea that the US-China trade war is a problem, that China is slowing", Lucas explained. In the letter, which was released after the markets closed, Cook said Apple expects revenue of $84 billion for the quarter, nearly a tenth lower than the consensus expectation in financial markets.

"Despite a more pro-growth policy stance, effectively since mid-2018, we expect growth to continue to slow in the foreseeable future as it appears to us that the government's policy is still behind the curve", economists at BofA Merrill Lynch said in a global research repport. Weak China December factory readings this week have spurred a fresh round of selling in global markets.

A jump in Australian shares, which rose 1.3 per cent, helped to offset weakness elsewhere in the region after its currency fell to near decade lows, boosting exporters.

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The broader All Ordinaries was up 69 points, or 1.23 per cent to 5,694.6.

Apple specifically highlighted slowing Chinese growth and Sino-U.S. trade tensions, exacerbating investors' concerns about the health of the global economy.

The break of some key technical levels in early Asian trading on Thursday triggered some massive stop-loss sales, forcing investors to unwind some of their large short yen trades against the dollar and quickly cascading into other currencies.

The New Zealand dollar also took an initial beating on the yen to hit its lowest since late 2012, though whether any trades were done around those levels was hard to say.

The euro was flat, buying US$1.1342, and the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the USA currency against a basket of major rivals, was 0.15 per cent weaker at 96.733.

Amid the flight to perceived safety, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2.6328 per cent compared with its USA close of 2.661 per cent on Wednesday. The two-year Treasury yield US2YT=RR briefly dropped below 2.4 percent to reach parity with the federal funds effective rate for the first time since 2008.

U.S. crude dipped 1.31 per cent at US$45.93 (RM189.74) a barrel after a sharp rise yesterday.

USA crude fell 2.1 percent to $45.57 a barrel, and Brent crude was down 1.2 percent at $54.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lost 398 points in the first few minutes of trading, closed 0.1 percent higher at 23,346.24.

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