Asia-Pacific News Australia & New Zealand

  • Australian businesses added to inventories at a slower pace last quarter amid subdued sales, suggesting stocks subtracted more from economic growth than first thought.

  • Australia's largest construction and contract mining group, Leighton Holdings Ltd, said Monday it will merge its operations in the Arabian Gulf with Al Habtoor Engineering by acquiring a 45 percent stake in Al Habtoor for about 870 million Australian dollars.

  • A man uses his mobile phone in front of electronic stock boards at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Ltd.) headquarters in Sydney, Australia.

    Asian markets made solid gains Friday, ending the week firmly in positive territory as investors bet on a positive reaction to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech on monetary policy and housing in Jackson Hole, Wyo. at 11 am Singapore time.

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  • Australian electrical goods and furniture retailer Harvey Norman beat forecasts with a 28% rise in year profit on strong sales of flat-screen TVs and laptops, sending its shares up more than 6%.

  • Australian consumers spent freely for a second straight month in July as strong employment, high consumer confidence and generous tax cuts combined to get the third quarter off to a brisk start.

  • Australia's central bank on Friday provided the banking system with less money than its estimated need, as it struggled to ease upward pressure on some market interest rates.

  • New Zealand's Auckland International Airport said it had been informed by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise that a legal challenge against the company was in breach of the terms of Dubai's $1.8 billion takeover bid, sending its shares falling.

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    Asian markets mostly finished higher Thursday, but were off their morning highs. Volumes were thin amid a dearth of strong incentives, with many market participants holding back ahead of a long weekend in the United States. Japan and South Korea both closed almost 1% higher. 

  • Liquidators of Basis Capital's Basis Yield Alpha Fund said on Thursday they were assessing if the fund could pay back investors, after it was placed into provisional liquidation on Wednesday.

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    Asian stocks closed lower across the region Wednesday as investors shunned riskier assets on the renewed fears about the health of the U.S. economy. But markets were off their lows with South Korea closing just slightly in the red after plunging as much as 3% at one point during the session.

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    Asian stocks mixed Tuesday as fresh fears about the outlook for the U.S. economy offset healthy profits and orders at firms in the region, while the yen firmed as investors trimmed exposure to riskier assets.

  • Foster's Group, Australia's biggest alcoholic drinks company, said on Tuesday second-half net profit rose 22%, boosted by strong beer and international wine sales.

  • Asian stocks were stronger in the afternoon session Monday with markets taking cues from a Wall Street rally triggered by surprisingly strong economic data, while the Japanese yen weakened against the U.S. dollar as risk appetite strengthened.

  • Shares in Australian betting companies fell on Monday after an outbreak of equine influenza disrupted Australian horse racing. 

  • Australia's largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, posted a 27.5% jump in full-year profit, cementing its dominant position, and said it expects 2008 earnings to grow up to 23%.

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    Asian stocks led by finance counters, were lower across the board in the afternoon session Friday, on concerns that problems in the U.S. housing and credit markets could push the world's biggest economy into recession. Australia, Japan and South Korea all closed down.

  • Australian clothing retailer Billabong International reported a 15% rise in full-year profit on Friday as it continued an international expansion, and said it expected 15% earnings per share growth in fiscal 2008.

  • Australian oil and gas producer Santos on Thursday reported a 29% drop in first-half net profit as record production was more than offset by a strong Australian dollar and higher depreciation.

  • Australian newspaper publisher Fairfax Media said on Thursday year net profit rose 10%, close to expectations, on improved performances for its digital businesses and its regional and rural publications.