Asia-Pacific News Australia & New Zealand

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    Asian markets closed higher across the board Thursday, with banking and technology stocks climbing after gains on Wall Street. Australia closed at a new peak while Japan finished at a six-week high.

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    Asian stocks finished mostly in the green Wednesday, following a quiet trading day with a couple of markets closed for public holidays. The U.S. dollar hit another record low against the euro after weak U.S. economic data boosted expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again next month.

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    Renewed concerns about credit markets and a slide in the U.S. dollar hurt some Asian financial and technology stocks Tuesday, but higher metals prices pushed Australian shares to close at a record high.

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    Asian markets closed firmly higher Monday with Australia setting a new record close, though trading was light due to holidays in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

  • Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting and West Australian News said on Monday they have agreed to sell the Hoyts cinema chain to private equity group Pacific Equity Partners.

  • Australia's Orica, the world's biggest explosives maker, has agreed to buy Excel Mining Systems from U.S. private equity firm Snow Phipps Group for US$670 million, extending its reach in the booming mining services industry.

  • Asian markets had a mixed end to the week as worries about U.S. inflation grew on the back of a persistently weak U.S. dollar. Japan closed lower but South Korea finished at a seven-week high despite spending most of the session in flat territory.

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

    Asian stocks were mixed in lackluster trade Thursday. Markets drifted in a narrow range in and out of positive territory. But Japan, South Korea and Australia managed to make some gains. 

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    Asian markets rallied Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed two key interest rates -- the benchmark fed fund rate and the discount rate -- by 50 basis points each. Japan soared 3.7% and South Korea closed 3.5% higher.

  • Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello on Wednesday warned the country's major banks not to raise their mortgage rates to maintain margins in the face of higher borrowing costs in markets.

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    Asian markets were mostly lower Tuesday as financial shares lost ground amid spreading turmoil in financial markets.  Japan shed 2% while South Korea closed 1.77% lower.

  • Australia's central bank on Tuesday denied market speculation that one or more regional Australian banks had come to it for emergency funding due to the global credit squeeze.

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    Asian stocks finished mostly lower Monday, taking a breather after four straight weeks of gains. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 2% higher and South Korea ended a touch stronger after spending most of the day in negative territory. Australia finished weaker. A public holiday in Japan kept the yen subdued. Markets there were closed for a holiday and will reopen Tuesday.

  • Australia's Newcrest Mining said on Monday it had raised A$1.586 billion (US$1.33 billion) in an institutional entitlement offer to close out its gold hedge book, sending its shares up as much as 12.5%.

  • Shares in Oil Search surged as much as 19.4% on Monday after the South China Morning Post newspaper said a joint venture of China's National Petroleum Corp. was considering a bid of up to US$5 billion for the Australia oil firm.

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    Asian markets finished the week higher across the board, boosted by financial shares with Japan closing almost 2% higher. However caution ahead of U.S. retail sales data due later in the session kept the U.S. dollar under pressure.

  • Macquarie Bank, Australia's top listed investment bank, said on Friday its first-half profit is expected to be about 40% higher than the previous corresponding period, on strong M&A flows. But Macquarie added that there had been a slowdown in deals due to current market conditions.

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    Most of the Asian indexes closed in positive territory Thursday following a very choppy trading session, with South Korea closing almost 2% higher. Energy shares rallied as oil held near a record peak above $80 set overnight.

  • Australian miner Consolidated Minerals said on Thursday it recommended a revised $924 million offer from Ukraine's Palmary Enterprises.

  • New Zealand's central bank kept interest rates on hold at 8.25%, as expected, on Thursday amid a slowing domestic economy and global credit market turmoil.