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Asia-Pacific News Australia & New Zealand

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    Asian stocks continued the negative start to the year Monday as many indexes sank to two-week lows, but Chinese and Indian indexes managed robust gains. Taiwan's TIAEX closed over 4 percent lower and Singapore' Straits Times Index ended 2.5 percent down.

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    Qantas Airways, Australia's largest airline, said on Monday it would raise its fuel surcharges on international routes, the second increase in less than a year.

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    Japanese stocks tumbled as much as 5 percent on Friday, the first trading day in a week, as growing worries about the U.S. economy battered Wall Street.

  • Australian coal miner Resource Pacific on Friday advised shareholders to reject a A$960 million ($842 million) bid from Swiss-based mining group Xstrata, saying the offer was "neither fair nor reasonable".

  • A Hong Kong-based unit of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has bought small stakes in three Australian banks, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

  • National Australia Bank, Australia's top lender by assets, has taken the unusual decision to raise home loan rates out of step with a central bank rate move, in response to higher borrowing costs.

  • Asian stock indexes finished lower across the board Thursday, with the exception of the Shanghai Composite Index, as investors were spooked by the surprise contraction in U.S. manufacturing, and the impact of record oil prices on global growth.

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  • Centro

    Australia's Centro Properties Group, which owns more than 700 U.S. shopping centers, has attracted several possible bidders for all or part of the debt-burdened company, including U.S. private equity funds.

  • Asian markets kicked off the new year under pressure on worries about a slowing global economy. But oil and gold prices continued to edge higher approaching record highs.

  • Centro

    Centro Properties Group, Australia's second high-profile victim of a global credit crunch, said it was seeking expressions of interest from potential buyers for all or part of the business.

  • Asian stocks were mostly higher Monday in thin holiday trading, with most investors away to usher in the new year. But Pakistan's shares slid in its first reaction to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto whose death last week plunged the country into one of its deepest crises.

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    Most Asian markets closed lower Friday  as investors were rattled by the assassination of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, and data pointed to continuing economic weakness in the United States.

  • RAMS Home Loans Group Ltd, Australia's first high profile victim of the subprime mortgage crisis, said it had extended two funding facilities worth A$750 million ($658 million) that had been due to expire on Dec. 31.

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    Asian closed mixed, with some boosted by resources companies such as BHP Billiton as oil and commodities prices firmed. But Tokyo closed down, staying on course to end the year as the world's worst performing major stock market.

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    Asian stocks were mostly higher in the afternoon session Wednesday. Trade was thin as many investors were away for Christmas holidays. Japan closed higher be South Korea declined. Other Asian markets including Australia and Hong Kong were shut, and many markets in Europe will also be closed.

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    Japanese stocks closed at their highest in nearly two weeks Tuesday as investors picked up recently pressured shares such as Sony, encouraged by a softening yen and after news from Merrill Lynch prompted a rally on Wall Street.

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    Asian markets rallied on the Christmas Eve Monday, lifted by technology and bank stocks as stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer spending calmed fears the world's top economy was heading into a recession.

  • Babcock & Brown, an Australian investment and advisory firm, raised its earnings per share growth forecast to at least 45 percent on Monday, boosting its shares as much as 5.5 percent.

  • Asian markets closed higher across the board Friday, having got a lift from technology stocks and year-end program buying by funds. Most of the major indexes finished over 1 percent higher, while the Hang Seng gained 2.3 percent.