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Distributed: Feb 25, 2009

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Sydney, Feb 25, 2009 (ABN Newswire) - Asian shares fell broadly yesterday following the sharp losses in Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei index extended its falling streak for the third trading session to a 26-year low. In Seoul, Kospi slumped 3.2%. China market, which is said as one of the world's best performers, saw a most massive drop of 4.6% in Shanghai Composite Index. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.9% with China-related stocks tracking movements in Shanghai.

Today the Asian markets opened higher after the US Stocks rallied overnight.

Economy Watch

Japan's Land Ministry said Tuesday land prices as of Jan. 1 were lower than three months earlier at 98.6% of the 150 nationwide locations for which the government monitors quarterly changes.

Japan's January trade deficit widened to its biggest level on record in January, reaching Y952.6 billion in January, the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday. But the figure was better than analysts' forecast of a Y1.15 trillion deficit. The data shows that overseas demand for Japanese goods slashed amid a global economic downturn and Japan's exports has plunged 45.7%.

South Korea's seasonally-adjusted gross domestic product figure fell by 5.6% in the fourth quarter from three months earlier, the sharpest fall among the 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

Company News

China Life Insurance (SHA:601628) proposed buying 10 per cent of Wing Hang Bank (HKG:0302) from a Bank of New York unit last year, according to documents released yesterday by Hong Kong's securities regulator.

China's Shenzhen Development Bank (SHE:000001) last night denied a media report saying it was in merger talks with China Development Bank. The SDB's board said in a statement that the merger talk rumour was groundless after confirming with the largest shareholder and effective control person.

Panasonic Corp. (TYO:6752) said that it plans to double its European sales of white goods to Y80 billion in the fiscal year starting April 2013 from the fiscal year ended March 2008.

Suzuki Motor Corp. (TYO:7269) said today that it will shut down operations at six of its domestic plants for four to ten days in March to adjust to the global slide in auto and motorcycle demand.

It is reportedly that Lawson Inc.(TYO:2651), Japan's second-largest convenience store chain operator, plans to acquire am/pm Japan Co. for between 14 and 15 billion yen as it seeks to expand its operations in the densely populated Tokyo area.

South Korea's fixed-line and broadband company KT Corp. (SEO:030200) said it will buy back and cancel KRW500 billion of its shares. KT Corp. also said it will hold a shareholders' meeting on March 27 to seek final approval for its plan to absorb its mobile phone services unit, KT Freetel Co. (SEO:032390).

The Shipping Corp. of India Ltd. (BOM:523598) has dropped a tender to buy four dry bulk cargo carriers as demand for ships declines in the face of a slowdown in global trade. South Korea's STX Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (SEO:067250) offered in September to sell four so-called capesize ships.

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

  Related Companies

>>>        China Life Insurance Company Limited
>>>      KT Corporation
>>>        KT Freetel Co., Ltd
>>>        Lawson, Inc.
>>>        Panasonic Corporation
>>>        Shenzhen Development Bank Co., Ltd.
>>>        STX Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
>>>        Suzuki Motor Corporation
>>>       The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.
>>>       Wing Hang Bank, Limited

  Related Industry Topics:

Telecom Carriers | Auto Manufacturing | Shipping & Maritime | Consumer Electronics | Insurance | Consumers General | Financial General | Retail & Merchant Banking | 

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