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• On July 24 China unveiled a package of policies aimed at boosting economic growth. The stimulus included a list of new infrastructure projects and deeper tax cuts. Stocks rallied but local economists urged caution, calling the announcement an easing up of the crackdown on debt rather than a reversal. China’s CSI 300 stock index rose 1.6 percent on the day.
• On August 6 Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group which owns Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology investment fund, reported a 49 percent increase in profit for Second Quarter 2018. The profit was boosted by Vision Fund’s sale of the Indian online retailer Flipkart to Walmart Inc. SoftBank’s profit for the entire quarter was $6.4 billion of which $2.2 billion came from Vision Fund. SoftBank’s shares jumped 6.5 percent after the earnings announcement.
• On August 23 Alibaba Group Holding Limited, the ecommerce titan which is basically China’s answer to Amazon, reported Second Quarter 2018 results. The company continued to dominate the Asian internet market but let the profit margin slip on the back of some major investments. Still, different parts of the business all helped the company deliver 61 percent revenue growth over the same period last year. Most importantly, core online retail offering is going strong and – just like for Amazon.com – Alibaba’s cloud business is too and revenue doubled from a year ago. Alibaba’s stock fell 3.2 percent on the day.
• On August 29 Westpac Banking Corporation, one of the largest Australian banks, raised its key mortgage rates in an effort to preserve profit margins amid higher funding costs. Australian banks, which are reliant on offshore borrowing to fund their loan books, are facing increased funding costs as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Westpac’s shares rose 2.7 percent on the announcement.
• On September 11 Renesas Electronics, a Japanese chipmaker said the company plans to buy American rival Integrated Device Technology (IDT) in a deal worth $6.7 billion. The acquisition will expand Renesas’s presence in analog chips used in autonomous cars. Renesas also said that the company will generate $80 billion in synergies by removing duplicate costs. The shares of IDT rose 10.7 percent on the news.