Asian Markets Overview of March 3
Asian Markets Overview of March 3

Sydney, Mar 3, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Asian share markets closed sharply lower on Monday with investor sentiment sharply dented by a worse-than-expected contraction in the U.S. economy. In Hong Kong, Hang Seng Index fell 3.86 per cent, dragged by the slump in U.S. stocks to new bear market lows Friday and concerns over HSBC. Japan's Nikkei-225 was down 3.8 per cent, while South Korean stocks closed 4.16 per cent lower. But Shanghai shares bucked the regional trend, closing up 0.51 per cent, as government stimulus plans boosted real estate and cement stocks.

Tuesday Tokyo market opened significantly lower, slumping to a new low since the burst of the country's economic bubble in the early 1990s. Seoul shares fell below 1000 points, weighed down by the big losses on Wall Street and the weakness of won.

Asia Economy Watch

Japan's gross domestic product, excluding the impact of inflation, fell 1% in January according to data compiled Monday by the Japan Center for Economic Research.

South Korea Finance Minister said on Tuesday that the government plans to adjust property taxes further to stabilise the country's real estate markets, after data showed housing prices across the country fell for the fifth consecutive month in February from the previous month.

Company News

India's airline company Spicejet (BOM:500285) is considering acquiring a domestic low-cost carrier as it expected to break even next fiscal. Spicejet also said the company will dilute minority stake to a foreign carrier, aimed at achieving a "global footprint".

Japan's Fuji Electric Holdings Co. (TYO:6504) will restructure its motor business following the break-down of talks for a sale to Nidec Corp. (TYO:6594). The company's core unit, Fuji Electric Systems Co., will absorb four small-motor subsidiaries, including wholly owned Fuji Electric Motor Co. and manufacturing and sales firms in China and Taiwan on April 1.

Taiwan's air carrier China Airlines Ltd. (TPE:2610) said Tuesday it plans to raise between NT$5 billion and NT$10 billion to reduce interest expenses and improve its finances through an offering of new shares.

Hong Kong based Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. (HKG:2332) said it is in advanced talks over a possible spinoff and separate listing of Hong Kong and Macau telecom businesses.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) expects its worldwide production to drop about 12% next fiscal year to the lowest volume in seven years. However analysts said Toyota's expected output cuts are in line with expectations.

Sekisui House Ltd. (TYO:1928) yesterday anticipated the group pretax profit will plunge 50% to 38.5 billion yen for the year ending January 2010, mainly due to declining sales of condominiums and waning demand for made-to-order houses.


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

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