From India's stock market surge to Doritos-flavored booze – Here are today's Headlines

India’s stock market has now snagged the seventh spot for the largest stock exchanges worldwide, surpassing Hong Kong in market value.

From India's stock market surge to Doritos-flavored booze – Here are today's Headlines
A bronze sculpture of a bull is seen on the premises of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building as people watch a large screen displaying India's benchmark share index on the facade of the building in Mumbai January 25, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA)/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

India’s stock market beats Hong Kong

The backstory: India's stock market has a rich history, transitioning from traditional open outcry trading (where investors gather in person at the trading floor to buy and sell stocks – think 80s-era Wall Street) to electronic platforms. Represented by indices like the BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty, it has grown a lot, becoming one of the world's largest markets and attracting both domestic and international investors. This year, India is a standout in the Asia-Pacific market. On the flip side, the Hong Kong stock exchange has encountered hurdles. The Hang Seng Index (HSI) is on track for its fourth consecutive year of decline, indicating a challenging period for this historically influential financial hub.

The development: India’s stock market has now snagged the seventh spot for the largest stock exchanges worldwide, surpassing Hong Kong in market value. By November's end, the National Stock Exchange of India clocked a market cap of US$3.989 trillion, edging past Hong Kong's US$3.984 trillion, according to World Federation of Exchanges data. Click the link here for more.

Li Ning's Hong Kong expansion

Li Ning Hong Kong
A ship sails with a city view in the background in Hong Kong, China November 30, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

The backstory: China, home to around 1.4 billion people, is dealing with a sluggish economic recovery post-COVID, a shrinking population and a spectrum of issues, including a property crisis, local government debt risks, slow global growth and geopolitical tensions. Against this backdrop, Chinese sportswear stocks, including the well-known brand Li Ning, are facing a downturn amid the nation's slow consumption revival. Li Ning was started by an Olympic gymnast in 1990, and it’s having a bit of a rough year. Its earnings for the first half weren't great, margins got tight, and to top it off, sales in the company's stocks took a dip after a disappointing third quarter. 

The development: Li Ning revealed its plan on Sunday to buy a commercial building in Hong Kong for HK$2.2 billion (US$282 million) from Henderson Land Development, but it didn't sit well with investors. Click the link here for more.

The UN demands Gaza ceasefire

UN General Assembly ceasefire Gaza
Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan speaks to delegates during the United Nations General Assembly expected to vote on ceasefire resolution, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City, U.S., December 12, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The backstory: Since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and the following Israeli raids on Gaza (plus escalating violence in the West Bank), we’ve been keeping you updated on the breaking news coming out of this conflict. At this point, Israel’s military campaign has killed an estimated 18,000+ Palestinians, with the Israeli attacks now spreading all across the 41-kilometer (25-mile) territory. The UN has warned that the situation is approaching a genocide. On the other hand, Israel has vowed to completely wipe out Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip but has been deemed a terrorist organization by many.

More recently: Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres enacted Article 99 of the UN Charter, which let him throw a ceasefire resolution into the UN Security Council (UNSC) and demand an emergency vote. The US vetoed this resolution. So, Egypt and Mauritania put forward Resolution 377A (V), known as “Uniting for Peace,” for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), asserting the UNSC hasn’t been able to maintain global peace, one of its main jobs, because of a lack of unanimity. This means that the UNGA can get involved to make recommendations, although they are legally nonbinding.

The development: On Tuesday, the UNGA voted for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the unconditional release of all hostages. UNSC resolutions are legally binding, but UNGA ones aren’t. Still, the UNGA is reflective of global views, and its resolutions are important for peacemaking. The resolution was approved with 153 votes in favor, 10 against (including the US and Israel) and 23 nations abstaining. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

Toward the end of every year, Google releases its “Year in Search,” which takes a look at what people were searching for over the course of almost 12 months worldwide. With how quickly everything has been changing this year, 2023’s Year in Search index is a reminder of the biggest events, people and topics the world was obsessed with, even if momentarily. The 10 most searched news stories, people, deaths, movies, games, books, recipes, songs, TV shows and more are all listed. It compiles this info by looking at the volume of specific keywords in similar searches.

Google also indexes collected searches from specific countries and regions. In Hong Kong, for instance, we see that both Clockenflap and Art Basel were ranked among some of the top event searches for the city, with the Hong Kong Book Fair coming in the top slot. And Jay Chou and BLACKPINK were the top two musical acts searched for by Hong Kongers this year. Both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” made the top 10 searched movies. But the No. 1 film on Hong Kong’s mind was “A Guilty Conscience.” Travel was also on the minds of Hong Kongers, with top searches for destinations like Tokyo and Osaka. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks had a slight uptick, marking four consecutive days in the green, as investors looked at the latest inflation numbers.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks rose with global markets on Tuesday, with investors eyeing US inflation data.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Oracle dropped over 12% in extended trading due to lower-than-expected Q2 revenue.
  • Lucid fell over 8% after the sudden resignation of CFO Sherry House.
  • In Hong Kong: Li Ning gained 4.4%, recovering from a 14% drop on Monday.
  • New World Development rose 1.6% as the Cheng family bought 700,000 shares on December 11.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: The Consumer Price Index rose 3.1% year-over-year and 0.1% month-over-month in November, in line with economist predictions.
  • In Hong Kong: This week will see releases on China's 1-year MLF, retail sales, industrial production and the jobless rate.

📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.

More headlines ...

📰Israel/Palestine updates: On Monday, the EU's highest diplomat, Josep Borrell, said that the destruction and devastation in Gaza is "catastrophic, apocalyptic" and proportionally "even greater" than what Germany suffered in World War II. Also, on Monday, health officials and aid orgs reported that cold, wet weather; shelter overcrowding; lack of food; dirty water and medicine scarcity have caused sickness and disease to spread. And the World Health Organization (WHO) says that there are only 11 functioning hospitals in the Strip. As the UN votes on a ceasefire resolution, US President Biden is pushing more criticism of Israel than previously, saying at a re-election campaign fundraiser that support for Israel is dropping because of its "indiscriminate" bombing of Gaza. He also said that Israeli PM Netanyahu should change the government. Israel has reported that 20 of its own soldiers have been accidentally killed in Gaza since the conflict began, mostly from friendly fire.

🛳️Houthi Red Sea attacks continue: Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels are continuing to bombard Western and Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea. On Tuesday, they fired a missile at an oil and chemical tanker flying the Norwegian flag. This is a sign that the Houthis may now be attacking vessels with no links to Israel.

👩‍⚖️Japan convicts soldiers in landmark case: Former Japanese soldier Rina Gonoi has been trying to find justice after reporting experiencing forcible indecency at the hands of male soldiers while she was enlisted. After reporting the alleged abuse to Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) authorities, two investigations took place, but both were dropped due to lack of evidence. Gonoi then went on social media to publicize her story, leading the Japanese Defense Ministry to start a bigger investigation into JSDF sexual harassment more broadly. On Tuesday, Gonoi's abusers were found guilty of sexual assault in court.

🤝Poland's Ukraine support: Centrist Polish politician Donald Tusk was elected as the country's new prime minister on Monday, and his inauguration ceremony was on Tuesday. Speaking at the ceremony, Tusk said that his government would keep pushing the West to help Ukraine in the war with Russia, and he also promised that Poland would stay a dependable NATO ally and maintain its status in Europe.

💼Xi visits Vietnam: Vietnam is being courted by both China and the US as both countries try to gain more influence in the Pacific region. China and Vietnam tend to get along overall, but they do clash when it comes to some territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for a state visit, where Chinese and Vietnamese officials (including leader Nguyen Phu Trong) will talk about territory and build on their diplomacy.

💻Ukraine hit by cyberattack: Ukraine is gearing up for a hard winter, with Russian attacks expected to target its energy infrastructure. On Tuesday, Ukraine's biggest mobile operator, Kyivstar, reported that it had come under a cyberattack that reportedly affected internet access and suspended mobile service to millions – which is bad because phones are often used to warn civilians in Ukraine about incoming attacks.

🌏COP28 talks in overtime: With the original COP28 draft deal released on Monday, many UN member states refused to sign over what was seen as a too-soft approach to fossil fuel use – namely that the draft didn't mention a total fossil fuel phase-out. COP28 was supposed to wrap up on Tuesday, but negotiators have been working on a new, more effective deal. This draft calls for the international community to transition toward green energy more quickly, but it still doesn't mention a phase-out of fossil fuels. Fingers are crossed for an acceptable agreement later on Wednesday.

🧑‍⚖️Epic win: Epic Games has been in a legal battle with Google for about three years over its alleged app store monopolies. The final decision has now been called by a jury, which voted in favor of Epic Games – meaning that Google has been found to be running an illegal monopoly with its Google Play app store and the platform's linked billing service. Google plans to challenge the decision.

✂️Hasbro job cuts: Hasbro, the maker of Nerf and Play-Doh toys (among others), hasn't been doing too well with sales this year. Even though it's the holiday season, sales forecasts still aren't meeting the company's needs. So, it's set to cut about 1,100 jobs globally, on top of about 800 job cuts the company made earlier this year.

🖋️Sports Illustrated fires CEO: In November, Sports Illustrated was accused by Futurism of secretly using content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) in its publications. Since then, a few people at the magazine have been let go. On Monday, CEO Ross Levinsohn was also fired – but Sports Illustrated's publisher, the Arena Group, didn't specifically mention the reason.

🎥HK film disqualified from Oscars: In September, the film "A Light Never Goes Out" was announced as Hong Kong's entry for the Academy Awards' best international feature film category. But it's been disqualified over a misunderstanding of some new voting rules. One of Hong Kong's new 13-person selection committee members voted for the film, which was said to be a conflict of interest because they are also one of the film's stars. Producer Saville Chan said the incident was a misunderstanding of the rules and that learning from the experience is important so this doesn't happen again.

🎤BTS doing military service: All South Korean young men are required to complete military service for the country for at least two years. Once billed as the biggest music act in the world, K-pop sensation BTS is now on hiatus as the members complete their mandatory service. As of Tuesday, all seven members are now enlisted. This puts a whole new meaning on the BTS Army.

🍅Tomato located: NASA astronaut Frank Rubio grew a tomato on the International Space Station (ISS) but said he lost it somewhere on the station. Some people accused Rubio of secretly eating the tomato, which would've meant he'd destroyed an important scientific specimen. But, on Monday, NASA announced that the tomato had been found on the ISS, clearing Rubio's name. It's not clear where the tomato was found, though.

🍾Doritos booze: Gen Z loves Doritos – in fact, it's the eighth most popular brand among zoomers. Well, now, Doritos fans can enjoy that nacho cheese flavor and get a bit sloshed, too. The snack company has partnered with Copenhagen-based distillery Empirical to release a limited-edition Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese liquor. Right now, it's rolling out just in the US, but Empirical's website has a sign-up option if you want to join the pledge to get this cheesy booze rolled out globally. And yes, they ship to Hong Kong. 

Quiz Time!

What country’s stock market just edged past Hong Kong’s spot on the list of the world’s largest stock exchanges?

  • Canada
  • India
  • Germany
  • Saudi Arabia

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz and Christine Dulion