From Amazon joining the Dow to women at Japan's "Naked Festival" – Here are today's Headlines

Amazon officially joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average earlier this week.

From Amazon joining the Dow to women at Japan's "Naked Festival" – Here are today's Headlines
The logo of Amazon is seen at the company's logistics centre in Boves, France, October 6, 2021 REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Amazon joins the Dow Jones

Amazon officially joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) earlier this week. This means investors betting on the Dow Jones will now have exposure to Amazon's stock. This shake-up is the first change to the DJIA since 2020, when companies like Salesforce and Amgen hopped aboard. So, why the change? It's partly because of Walmart. The company recently split its stock three-for-one, making its shares cheaper and changing how much weight it carries in the index. Here's the backstory.

"Reflecting the evolving nature of the American economy, this change will increase consumer retail exposure as well as other business areas in the DJIA," said S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Ant Group eyes Credit Suisse's China arm

UBS Credit Suisse China
Sergio Ermotti, UBS Group Chief Executive Officer attends a press conference of Swiss bank UBS after the takeover of Credit Suisse, in Zurich, Switzerland, August 31, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

UBS took over Credit Suisse after its collapse, and now it needs to sell off the division's securities arm in China because it already has a similar business there, and it's only allowed to keep one of them. Now, Ant Group has reportedly outbid Citadel Securities for Credit Suisse's investment bank arm in China. But, insiders speaking with Bloomberg suggested that China prefers foreign buyers for these kinds of deals. So, where does that leave UBS? It's in a tough spot. Here's the backstory.

Shein’s potential IPO in London

Shein IPO London
A Shein logo is pictured at the company's office in the central business district of Singapore, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chen Lin/File Photo

Shein reportedly could be considering a listing in London instead amid all the scrutiny and pushback it's facing in the US. The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, had talks with Shein's Executive Chairman Donald Tang, who showed interest in a London listing, according to a person familiar with the situation and first reported by Sky News on Tuesday. Here's the backstory.

"I would be stunned if Shein goes public in London over Hong Kong or NYC," said Ben Harburg, managing partner at Magic Stone Alternative Investment in Beijing, adding that the company may be seeking leverage in its battle to overcome political barriers in the US.

To end, we'll look into:

Women join Japan’s “Naked Festival”

Japan Naked Festival
Women take part in a ritual event of naked festival, for the first time in its 1250 years of history, at Owari Okunitama Shrine, also known as Konomiya Shrine, in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan February 22, 2024. REUTERS/Chris Gallagher

For 1,250 years, Japanese men have been braving the cold winters and taking part in Hadaka Matsuri, or the "Naked Festival," which is held on the third Saturday of February every year at the Konomiya Shrine in central Japan. The festival's purpose is for the men to drive away evil spirits before praying for happiness at the shrine and gaining luck for the year. 

About 10,000 men take part in the event, although they aren't as naked as the name seems to suggest. They're more like "nearly naked," wearing a Japanese loincloth called a "fundoshi" and a pair of white socks called "tabi." The light clothing lets them wade through purifying (freezing cold) waters before entering the main part of the temple, where a priest throws 100 bundles of twigs and two lucky shingi sticks into the crowd.

Enough about the men, though – this year's Naked Festival was one for the history books. For the first time, a group of 40 women took part, and they were welcomed with open arms (for the most part). Click here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks rose slightly on Tuesday as investors were waiting for important inflation data later in the week.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks rose on Tuesday as traders waited for US economic data to see if there would be hints of interest rate cuts.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Macy's rose over 3% after announcing store closures. 
  • Norwegian Cruise Line jumped 19% after positive guidance.
  • In Hong Kong: Chinese EV maker Li Auto climbed over 25% after reporting a huge increase in Q4 net income.
  • Nio also jumped 4.2%, and Xpeng rose over 5%. 

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: Orders for long-lasting goods in the US dropped more than expected in January.
  • Consumer confidence fell, with The Conference Board's index dropping to 106.7, lower than January's 110.9 and the estimated 115.1 by Dow Jones.
  • In Hong Kong: China will release key data like the official PMI and Caixin manufacturing PMI.

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

More headlines ...

🗞️Middle East update: US President Joe Biden has said that there are hopes for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza by next Monday. It's believed that the draft proposal includes a significant amount of humanitarian aid and swapping Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the remaining hostages in Gaza.  

The war between Israel and Gaza has also triggered conflict between Israel and Lebanon's militant group, Hezbollah. On Monday, Israel's military launched airstrikes on Lebanon's northeast city, Baalbek, targeting Hezbollah's "aerial defense array". Hezbollah said the attack killed at least two of its fighters. 

For months, the Houthis have been attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea, which has caused major disruptions to the global trading route. The US and the UK have launched attacks targeting the Houthis, and the latest came from the US on Monday. US Central Command said it destroyed four drones and two cruise missiles that were being prepared for attacks in the Red Sea. 

📰Russia/Ukraine update: Following recent pressure on European countries to send troops to fight with Ukraine against Russia, the Kremlin warned NATO that if it sends European troops to fight in the war, direct conflict between the US-led bloc and Russia would be inevitable. Although France had hinted at the possibility of contributing troops, Germany, Britain, and other European countries said on Tuesday that there are no plans to send troops to Ukraine. 

South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik told reporters that North Korea has been sending shipments of ammunition to Russia to help it in its war against Ukraine. A top South Korean official said the pace of the shipments has increased since Russian President Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a summit in September and that the latest one could hold millions of artillery shells. 

🛜6G in the works: In a race against China to develop the next generation of wireless technology, the US and nine other nations – Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and the UK – released a joint statement that they've supported a set of principles to advance 6G technology. 

👩‍🚀India's crewed space mission: Following India's success last year in its soft lunar landing with the Chandrayaan-3, India's PM Narendra Modi has announced the country's plan for its first crewed space mission (named Gaganyaan), which is scheduled to launch by 2025. Modi also announced the names of the four astronauts chosen for the mission. They are currently undergoing training, which includes flight simulations and physical fitness tests. 

🚗Apple scraps EV effort: Apple has been working on its electric vehicle (EV) for some time now. But on Tuesday, the company internally disclosed that it was abandoning the project, according to insiders speaking with Bloomberg. Company execs also reportedly said that many of the employees who have been working on the electric car would be moved over to the artificial intelligence (AI) unit. Others will be laid off, but it's not clear yet how many employees will be affected. Apple had over 2,000 people working on the project, called Project Titan. 

🚀China's space expansion: China is also upping its space exploration game, announcing plans to increase its rocket launches by 50% in 2024 compared to last year. The plans include 100 launches to send over 300 spacecraft into orbit, in a mix of government and private launches. 

🤝Zuckerberg meets Japanese PM: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on a tour in Asia, and he met with Japanese PM Fumio Kishida to discuss artificial intelligence (AI) issues and the future of the technology. Zuckerberg also has plans to go to South Korea to meet Samsung's chairman, Jay Y. Lee, and he may also meet the country's president, but this hasn't been confirmed yet.

✂️Sony layoffs: The video game industry has been struggling in the wake of the pandemic, and recently, Sony gave a disappointing outlook on its latest console, the PlayStation 5, slashing estimates for annual sales of the unit. On Tuesday, Sony said it would be closing its studio in London and cutting about 900 jobs, which will affect about 8% of the unit's staff from the Americas to Asia.

🏠Property pressure in Hong Kong: Hong Kong's property market has been struggling for several years now, and with its annual budget being released on Wednesday, accounting firms PwC and KPMG expect a deficit of more than double the government's initial estimate. The government is also expected to reduce stamp duties, seeing as housing prices have dropped by 20% since 2021 and may drop by a further 10% this year. 

⛴️Eco ferries in Hong Kong: Two of Hong Kong's ferry companies are purchasing three eco-friendly ships that'll produce less pollution, and they'll be in commission next month on the Central to Cheung Chau, Mui Wo and Peng Chau routes. They are also expected to deliver another 19 by next year.  

🚬New Zealand to scrap tobacco ban: New Zealand's government originally had plans to introduce the world's first tobacco ban for young generations in July, but following recent elections, its new coalition government is repealing this law and will instead pursue other measures to discourage and reduce smoking.

🐟A small but loud fish: Scientists have discovered that males of one of the world's smallest fish, the Danionella cerebrum, native to Myanmar, can make a sound up to 140 decibels (as loud as a gunshot). The sound is produced when one of the fish's ribs is pulled into its swim bladder, creating a "drumming sound."

Quiz Time!

What major US company just joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average?

  1. Exxon Mobil
  2. Nvidia
  3. Tesla
  4. Amazon

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Alisha Khan and Christine Dulion

**The answer to the quiz is [4]