Asian markets rise ahead of China data; U.S. inflation cools as expected

South Korea’s unemployment rate falls to 2.6% in February

South Korea’s February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slightly decreased to 2.6 percent, down from 2.9 percent in January.

That was also down from 2.8 percent a year earlier.

The total number of unemployed was 743,000, down from 842,000 in January and 797,000 in February 2022.

— Lim Hui Jie

Markets increase chances of Fed rate hike next week by a quarter point

Despite speculation that recent bank failures may cause the Fed to delay raising interest rates, markets are pricing in that the central bank remains on track.

Consumer price index data released Tuesday morning met market expectations, suggesting the Fed still has work to do in bringing inflation down.

Traders are pricing in an 86.4% chance of a 25 basis point (0.25 percentage point) rate hike at next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, up from earlier in the morning. Also, the implied level of peak or terminal rates rose to just under 5%, according to CME Group.

Still, some say the Fed should be more cautious given the implosions of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

“To be clear, we don’t see the need for further rate hikes now; the lagged effect of rate hikes over the past year has been sufficient to push inflation back to target, but Fed officials have so far been reluctant to accept that argument until last week when they began Further rate hikes,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Recent events make a strong case for a pause until May, but at this point it will be a surprise rather than our base case,” he added.

— Jeff Cox

U.S. inflation data meets expectations

Consumer Price Index up 0.4% Compared to the previous month, February matched the Dow Jones estimate. YoY growth of 6% was also in line with expectations.

— Fred Imbert

SEC and DOJ Reportedly Investigating SVB Collapse

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigation The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday how Silicon Valley Bank became the second-largest bank to fail in U.S. history.

The investigations, which are independent and preliminary, include a probe into stock sales by SVB executives before the tech-focused bank collapsed, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The SEC and Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

— Yun Li

Financials Outperform, Regional Banks Lead Gains

this S&P 500 Index Financials rose more than 2 percent to lead the broader market, buoyed by regional bank shares that sold off sharply in the previous session. As of just after 10 a.m. ET, the sector was on track for its biggest one-day gain since Nov. 10, when it soared 5.1%.

Communication services and energy and technology stocks also gained more than 2%.

— Fred Imbert

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