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Asia-Pacific News Australia & New Zealand

  • Australian soft drinks firm Coca-Cola Amatil beat market expectations with a 13 percent rise in year profit, as it raised prices to offset higher aluminium and other commodity prices.

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    Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Australia's second-biggest lender by assets, missed estimates with a 4 percent rise in first-half earnings, hurt by increased funding costs and higher provisions for bad debts, sending its shares down more than 5 percent.

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    Asian markets were slightly higher on Tuesday driven by a rebound in the U.S., but financials remained fragile after American International Group raised fears it would become the latest casualty of the credit crisis.

  • Primary Health Care said on Tuesday it had secured more than 50 percent of medical testing company Symbion Health, taking its A$2.7 billion ($2.4 billion) bid closer to the finishline.

  • The chairman of mining company Rio Tinto wrote to shareholders on Sunday, urging them to take no action on a bid for the company by rival miner BHP Billiton.

  • Upmarket Australian department store chain David Jones posted a 9.3 percent increase in second-quarter sales, lifted by a bumper Christmas season, and raised its first-half profit growth forecast to between 23-25 percent.

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    Australia's central bank bluntly warned on Monday that it would likely need to raise interest rates again to restrain inflation, even as it trimmed its outlook for economic growth.

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    Oil and precious metals rose on supply concerns on Monday in thin holiday trade in Asia, while the few stock markets that were open, such as South Korea and Australia, unravelled on fear the credit crunch would spread further.

  • Australian medical centre operator Primary Health Care reported a 23.7 percent fall in first-half net profit, hit by the interest costs of buying a 20 percent stake in its takeover target Symbion Health.

  • The Japanese market fell 1.4 percent in a quiet Friday session.  But Australia finished 1.1 percent higher.  Volumes were thin with many investors away for the lunar new year.

  • Japan ended higher Thursday, rebounding from early losses, but Australia closed lower, hitting a five-day low as investors remained sidelined after recent signs that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. 

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    Rio Tinto rejected a sweetened $147.4 billion takeover offer from miner BHP Billiton, saying the hostile bid undervalued the company.

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    Asian markets tanked in the afternoon session Wednesday, sending investors on a selling spree after unexpectedly weak service sector data in the United States and Europe fueled fears of a recession. Japan plunged over 4 percent and Hong Kong closed more than 5 percent lower.

  • Macquarie Group, Australia's top listed investment bank, named Nicholas Moore as its new chief executive to replace outgoing CEO Allan Moss, and forecast a record full-year profit.

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    Asian markets continued their weak run Tuesday with financial stocks sinking after U.S. credit card firms and banks were downgraded, stoking fears their troubles could spread to the global sector.

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    Australia's central bank on Tuesday raised interest rates to a decade peak of 7 percent, as it struggled to keep inflation under control, and left the door open for even more hikes if the red-hot economy did not cool soon.

  • Australian consumers went on a shopping spree last quarter, data showed on Tuesday, giving a boost to an already red-hot economy and reinforcing the case for an imminent rise in interest rates.

  • 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 rallied Monday, as Microsoft's bid for Yahoo and China's purchase of a large stake in takeover target Rio Tinto boosted optimism over share valuations. Japan added 2.6 percent while South Korea advanced 3.4 percent.

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    Australia's inflation headache worsened in January while house prices boasted double-digit gains in 2007, figures out on Monday showed, adding to expectations for a restraining rise in interest rates this week.

  • Australia's Fortescue Metals said on Monday it has had talks with potential investors, as a newspaper reported that a Chinese sovereign fund and a mining company were seeking a stake.