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Nikkei Asian Preview

White House on China stocks, HSBC results, Agnes Chow sentencing

Your weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political news

A Hong Kong court is expected to hand down its verdict for pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, right, on Wednesday.    © Reuters

Welcome to Nikkei Asian Preview.

Rival companies in several industries will post quarterly results across Asia this week, including Japan's entertainment giants Sony and Nintendo, brewers Asahi and Kirin, and Singapore's three big banks. In Hong Kong, HSBC is expected to report a half-year profit slump, while better numbers may be seen from China's top chipmaker SMIC, a key Huawei supplier.

Australia's central bank meets on Tuesday, followed by Thailand on Wednesday and India on Thursday. Trade data is due from China on Friday, as well as GDP figures from Indonesia on Wednesday and the Philippines on Thursday.

Finally, Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The commemoration will be downsized due to the coronavirus, which breached 1,000 daily cases for the first time in Japan last week.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NAR.

MONDAY

Deadline for US report on Chinese stocks

A White House working group has until Monday to draw up recommended actions against U.S.-listed Chinese companies, as Beijing denies American regulators full access to their audit documentation.

The nuclear option of delisting these companies -- which command a combined market capitalization of over $1 trillion -- was floated as a possibility by the Trump administration and included in a Senate bill passed in May.

The prospect of forced delistings has pushed some of China's largest companies trading in New York to seek secondary listings in Hong Kong or consider privatization offers over the last two months, in what some see as the onset of a U.S.-China financial decoupling.

Half-year profit slump projected for HSBC

Analysts expect HSBC Holdings to report a net profit of $4.39 billion in the first six months of this year versus $9.9 billion a year earlier. The focus will be on the bank's outlook for credit losses, its supportive response to Beijing's national security law for Hong Kong and the impact of a major restructuring unveiled earlier this year.

In the red: In April, HSBC said it expected the loan loss charge for 2020 to be in the range of $7 billion to $11 billion. Analysts are forecasting the losses to reach $9.8 billion for the year.

Record loss expected for Japan Airlines

Investors are bracing for Japan Airlines to record an operating loss of around 120 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the April-to-June quarter. A recent surge in Japan's coronavirus cases is casting doubt on demand for domestic flights, essential for JAL's recovery path. Rival ANA Holdings recorded an operating loss of 159 billion yen for the quarter.

TUESDAY

Results from Japan's video game giants

Sony, the electronics-to-entertainment conglomerate, will report earnings for the three months through June as investors look for the impact of the coronavirus on the company's wide range of businesses, including gaming and image sensor. Sony also plans to reveal its forecast for this fiscal year after posting a 36% drop in net profit to 582 billion yen for the year ended March 31.

Go deeper: Our exclusive interview with Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

Rival Nintendo will report quarterly earnings on Thursday, which will serve as a gauge on the outlook for the gaming market in 2020 as the coronavirus keeps people inside their homes. Its game Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become a smash hit during this year's lockdowns, giving analysts and investors confidence that surging demand will be reflected in Nintendo's sales figures.

WEDNESDAY

Agnes Chow faces sentencing hearing

A Hong Kong court is expected to hand down its verdict for pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, who has pleaded guilty to charges related to an unauthorized mass protest outside police headquarters last year. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Chow has said that she is mentally prepared to serve time in jail. 

Bar closures hit Japan's brewing giants

Asahi Group Holdings will report results for the April to June quarter on Wednesday. Sales of Asahi Breweries' "Super Dry" brand from January to June declined 74% from the previous year, largely due to the coronavirus-related closure of restaurants and bars. Asahi's rival Kirin Holdings will follow with quarterly results on Friday.

THURSDAY

China sales buoy Toyota Motor results

Despite an overall plunge in demand, Toyota topped Volkswagen to become the world's best-selling automaker in the first half of this year, as the Japanese car giant continued to sell aggressively in China. Those figures are expected to lift the automaker's quarterly earnings.

Quarterly results from Shiseido

Japan's biggest cosmetic and skincare company Shiseido will announce second quarter results on Thursday, after the company was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Shiseido's sales had been largely relying on travel retail, such as stores in airports and demand from inbound tourists visiting Japan.

Results from Singapore's Big 3 banks

Singapore's financial institutions have been bracing for a tide of nonperforming loans as the coronavirus rattles companies' cash flows and creates difficulties in repaying debt. The performance of Southeast Asia's largest lender, DBS, is expected to set the tone for the rest of the city-state's local banks like UOB.

OCBC, the third of Singapore's big banks, will post earnings on Friday. OCBC's net profit for the first quarter ended March tumbled 43% year-on-year to 698 million Singapore dollars ($495 million). The bank may not fare much better for the second quarter, with Singapore undergoing one of its most severe economic downturns in history.

FRIDAY

Results from chipmaker SMIC

Expect robust second quarter earnings for Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., China's top contract chipmaker, at the end of this week, thanks to its No. 1 customer Huawei's efforts to stockpile inventory to counter a U.S. crackdown on its suppliers.

The report comes weeks after SMIC debuted a dual listing Shanghai's STAR board, China's version of Nasdaq. SMIC's shares in Shanghai have nearly tripled from the listing price of 27.46 yuan, China's biggest market debut in a decade.

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