Sydney, Mar 31, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Most Asian stocks tumbled massively yesterday as the Obama government suggested a bankruptcy for the struggling US car makers. Most major indices in Asia opened higher on Tuesday despite sharp loss on Wall Street, largely due to optimism of the local economy and corporate performance.

Asia Economy Watch

Japan's unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, up from 4.1 percent in January, the Japanese government said Tuesday. The number of jobless surged 12.4 percent from the previous year to 330,000.

Meanwhile, Japan's average monthly household spending dropped a 3.5 percent in February from a year earlier to 266,044 yen, down for the 12th straight month. Household spending figures are a key indicator of individual spending, which accounts for about 55 percent of Japanese gross domestic product.

Company News

Japan's Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. (TYO:5802) says that the electronics components maker is in talks with Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502) to sell its stake in a nuclear fuel supplier. It is reported that Toshiba's Westinghouse Electric Co. seeks to buy more than 50% of Nuclear Fuel Industries Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture between Sumitomo Electric and Furukawa Electric Co. (TYO:5801).

India's Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (BOM:532371) said Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo (TYO:9437) has hiked its stake in the firm to 12.12 per cent through open offer. Last year Japanese telecom firm NTT DoCoMo had entered into an agreement to acquire a 26 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices for US$2.7 billion.

Unitech Wireless, the telecom arm of India's Unitech Ltd. (BOM:507878) has short-listed four firms for the purchase of telecom infrastructure equipment says a source familiar with the development. The shortlisted firms are Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Alcatel Lucent (NYSE:ALU) and China's Huawei and ZTE (SHE:000063)(HKG:0763).

SBBM Corp, a Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) unit, has sold over 490,000 Yahoo Japan Corp (TYO:4689) shares this month, reported a Japanese media. SBBM sold the shares for about 12.5 billion yen.

Chinese power producer Datang International Power Generation Co. (HKG:0991)(SHA:601991) said its net profit dived 77.4% last year on soaring coal costs and low domestic tariffs. The company said in a statement it planned to raise up to 5 billion yuan through a private placement to help finance several power projects.

Shinhan Bank, a unit of South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group(NYSE:SHG)(SEO:055550), said on Tuesday it was working to borrow about US$250 million to US$300 million in foreign debt in April, and would secure more foreign currencies via a bond sale this year. The bank also borrowed 90 million euros from four European institutions on Tuesday for one year at 250 basis points over EURIBOR (euro interbank offered rate).


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

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