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Sydney, Feb 4, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Asian markets ended mixed Tuesday as and financial stocks gained but property developers lost ground on a weak outlook for prices.

In Tokyo, yesterday the Nikki average closed down 0.6%, although the Bank of Japan's plan to buy stock from banks offset some declines in financial stocks.
Chinese shares in Shanghai extended gains with 2.4% higher on hope of more stimulus policies to be announced. Hong Kong stocks declined after the gloomy residential mortgage loan data.

Japan's Nikkei average rose 2 percent on Wednesday as tech shares gained on views they may benefit early from any economic recovery.

Asia Economy Watch

Asian economies will have to undergo 'huge change' as they shift from traditional export-led growth towards greater reliance on domestic demand, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn suggested yesterday. China is already in the vanguard of such change and others will need to follow suit if they are to reduce their vulnerability to outside shocks, he said.

Chinese banks' lending grew sharply with an estimated monthly record of 1.2 trillion yuan in new loans in January in response to a government appeal to lend more to stimulate the domestic economy.

The Bank of Japan announced yesterday that it would buy up to one trillion yen worth of shares held by Japanese banks. But Economists said the Bank of Japan's planned purchases will have only a limited impact.

Company News

It is reportedly International and regional banks are eyeing Royal Bank of Scotland PLC's (LON:RBS) Asian assets as RBS is expected to sell parts or all of its Asian business. Among likely bidders for its Indian business are Standard Chartered(LON:STAN), DBS(SIN:D05) and ANZ(ASX:ANZ).

India's IDBI Bank Ltd. (BOM:500116) is likely to merge its housing finance subsidiary, IDBI Homefinance, with itself after the board of the bank decided to indefinitely postpone the plan to sell the company.

Korea Exchange Bank (SEO:004940), South Korea's No. 5 lender, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings sank 45.6 percent on-year on increased provisions amid an economic slump and a subsequent corporate restructuring drive.

China Eastern Airlines Corp. (SHA:600115)(HKG:0670), which expects to report heavy losses for 2008, said it plans to sell stakes in some units and cut orders for new planes as part of efforts to return to profitability within three years.

Suntory Ltd.'s group said sales and net profit both soared to records in the year ended Dec. 31 as its brewery business turned profitable for the first time since entering the segment in 1963.

Japan's Shinsei Bank Ltd.(TYO:8303) reported a net loss for the fiscal third quarter and said it expects its second full-year loss in three years as risky overseas investments turned sour.

China's search engine company Baidu .Com. Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) has launched a trial "Japan.Baidu.Com," an online commodity exposition platform in Japan.

South Korea's Shinhan Bank, a banking unit of Shinhan Financial Group (SEO:055550), said Wednesday it has raised a combined US$960 million in the U.S., Canada and Europe via loans and the money market in January.


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

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