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Australian consumer sentiment slumped to 15-year lows in June as surging petrol and living costs pressured family finances, a survey showed on Wednesday, suggesting household spending could yet fall further.
Asian markets staged a late rebound as persistent worries about inflation kept investors cautious for most of the morning session. However stocks rallied in the afternoon with Japan climbing over 1 percent.
Shanghai stocks suffered the most severe losses in widespread stock declines in Asia Tuesday, as investors returned after a long weekend to a sea of red. Ongoing credit worries and concerns about the U.S. economy continued to keep investors wary.
Asian stocks came under selling pressure Monday, after Wall Street slumped on Friday, as oil spiked $11 and renewed fears of stagflation in the world's largest economy gripped the markets
Asian markets were firmer but off their highs Friday, lifted by energy firms following a jump in oil prices. Both Japanese and Australian markets gained over 1% .
Chinese metals trader Sinosteel has increased its voting stake in Midwest to 40 percent from one third, according to a regulatory filing on Friday, as it battles for control of the Australian iron ore prospector.
Chinese metals trader Sinosteel owns one-third of takeover target Midwest and has made a legal move to stop its rival Murchison Metals, from buying any more shares in the Australian iron ore prospector.
Australia's trade deficit shrank by far more than expected to its smallest in 14 months in April fuelling speculation that surging prices for coal and iron ore exports could make deficits a thing of the past.
Shares in Japan's Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo chain of casual-clothing stores, leapt 11 percent on Wednesday, boosted by strong sales in May and a newspaper report that it is likely to post a better profit than analysts expect this year.xxx
Australia's economy grew by more than expected last quarter, helped by spending on infrastructure and defence, while the consumer held up surprisingly well in the face of high interest rates and surging living costs.
Approvals to build new homes in Australia showed unexpected strength in April, but analysts cautioned that much of the improvement was in the volatile apartment sector and housing remained in the doldrums.
Metcash, Australia's largest grocery wholesaler, posted a stronger-than-expected 18 percent jump in full-year profit on strong growth in fresh food sales, and confirmed it has bid for a unit of Primary Health Care.
Australian retail sales suffered a surprise fall in April as consumers cut spending on food and recreation in the face of surging living costs, but also perhaps lessening the need for a further increase in interest rates.
Centro Properties Group, one of Australia's biggest casualties of the global credit crunch, won more time to repay about $2.67 billion in debt, sparking a rally in its shares on Monday.
Australian clothing retailer Just Group on Monday rejected a hostile $800 million bid by billionaire investor Solomon Lew, citing an independent adviser as saying the offer was too low.
Malaysia's Petronas will buy a 40 percent stake in Australian energy firm Santos' Gladstone liquefied natural gas project in Australia for $2.51 billion, sending Santos' shares up 10%.
Australian businesses surprisingly cut back on investment spending last quarter as a slump in consumption hurt the retail sector, stirring speculation the economy might have actually shrunk in the quarter. 1st paragraph of story should go here
Insurance Australia Group, which last week spurned a takeover offer by rival QBE, said on Monday its Chief Executive Michael Hawker had resigned with immediate effect, triggering a 3 percent jump in its shares.
Building materials group James Hardie Industries reported a worse-than-expected 61 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, hit by a slump in U.S. home-building, knocking its shares down as much as 8%.
Australian infrastructure firm SP AusNet reported a 6.3% fall in its 2007/08 year profit on Thursday, and said it expected the current year's result would be of a similar level after higher interest charges.