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Sydney, Feb 18, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Asian markets sharply fell on Tuesday with the pessimistic sentiment that the global economic downturn could be lasting longer than expected. Tokyo market ended 1.4% lower, while Shanghai Composite dropped 2.9%, giving up some recent gains. South Korea stocks took a massive 4.1% loss, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 3.8%.

Tokyo Nikkei index and Hang Seng index opened more than 1 percent lower today after the Wall Street's tumble overnight.

Asia Economy Watch

Data released by Korea's National Statistical Office shows that the number of jobless has reached 3.46 million, up 260,000 in a year. The survey also found 1.77 million people last month saying they are jobless for no reason.

China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange said the yuan will remain basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level. National Development and Reform Commission said deny one of its senior officials had suggested the yuan might weaken in a media report.

Company News

Toshiba Corp.(TYO:6502) said that it has agreed to buy Fujitsu Ltd.'s (TYO:6702) hard-disk drive business in a bid to make it the world's biggest supplier of one of the most commonly used drives for laptop computers. The deal is expected to be closed by the end of June.

China Mobile (HKG:0941)(NYSE:CHL) CEO Wang Jianzhou said the telecom giant is now looking to enter attention India market. But he did not elaborate on his company's India plans.

China's Lenovo Group (HKG:0992) will continue to hunt for merger and acquisition opportunities, despite two consecutive failed bids to buy another personal computer maker. Lenovo intends to be more aggressive in developing "new growth engines" for sales in emerging markets such as India, Russia and Brazil, the company's CEO Yang Yuanqing said.

South Korean trading house LG Corp (SEO:003550) said today its oil field in Oman had started crude production, securing the firm about 5,000 barrels per day for the next 20 years.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. (SEO:005930) will spend more than KRW7 trillion in facility investment in 2009, down about 35% from KRW11.8 trillion last year. Samsung Electronics is likely to adjust spending the most in LCD and memory chip facility investments, market sources said.

AOC Holdings Inc. (TYO:5017) said it will buy a 10% stake in the Yme oil field in Norway's North Sea from Talisman Energy Inc. (NYSE:TLM).

Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) said it will suspend production operations in Japan for three days in April in an effort to reduce inventory levels amid the weak auto demand worldwide. But Toyota expects its domestic output volume to increase in May from April after its inventory adjustment progress and launch of new models.


Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344

Related Companies

Toyota Motor Corporation          
Toshiba Corporation       
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd       
LG Corp.        
Lenovo Group Limited       
Fujitsu Limited        
China Mobile Ltd.       
AOC Holdings, Inc.       

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