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Australia's trade deficit came in much as expected in May, but April's shortfall was revised to show the first surplus since 2002 thanks to huge price increases for the country's iron ore exports.
Most Asian markets stayed firmly in negative territory Wednesday, led by Seoul's 2.5 percent slide as persistently high oil prices and their impact on economies remained the key theme keeping investors worried.
Australia's Westpac Banking Corp may need to add cash to save its estimated A$14 billion ($13.6 billion) all-stock takeover of St George Bank as a sharp slide in Westpac sharessparks unrest among the smaller bank's investors.
Australian retail sales rose well past expectations in May, pointing to consumer resilience in the face of higher living costs and challenging the official view that interest rates were high enough to curb domestic demand.
Just Group, an Australian clothes retailer, cut its earnings forecast for the 2008 financial year by as much as 12.6%, hit by sluggish consumer demand, but said it still rejected a takeover bid from billionaire Solomon Lew.
Asian markets were weaker Tuesday as investors continued to fret about the economic impact of high oil prices. Japan, South Korea and Australia all finished lower.
Australia's central bank held interest rates steady at a decade high on Tuesday, citing growing evidence that past hikes were working to cool demand and curb inflation in the long run.
Asian markets were mostly lower Monday, with Japan and Australia both closing down. Skyrocketing oil prices remained the key theme as investors worried over the impact of record oil prices on the health of the global economy.
Global steel giants ArcelorMittal and POSCO have separately bought stakes in Macarthur Coal, raising the possibility of a bidding war for the Australian mining company as steelmakers rush to secure stable coal supplies.
Australia's Qantas Airways said on Friday it will hold talks with striking aircraft engineers on Monday to try to resolve a wage dispute which has disrupted flights around Australia.
Asia experienced a selloff across the board, led by Shanghai's 5 percent tumble, after shares plunged on Wall Street and oil prices shot above $140 a barrel, fanning investors' fears of high inflation and slowing economic growth. Japan and South Korea finished 2% lower.
Asian markets were mostly flat Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept rates steady while the euro hit a record high against the yen on the prospects for a euro zone rate rise.
Australian rural conglomerate Futuris said on Thursday chief executive Les Wozniczka had resigned, a day after the company slashed its fiscal 2008 profit forecast, helping its shares recover the previous day's heavy losses.
Asian markets pared back losses Wednesday, with Tokyo closing just slightly lower. Concerns about the U.S. economy cast a cloud over the session and trade remained cautious as investors awaited the outcome of the Fed's two-day meeting, which is expected to leave interest rates at 2%.
Asian markets drifted to a mixed close Tuesday, with trade kept largely muted as investors stayed cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate decision at the its two-day policy meeting starting later today. Japan and Australia closed flat.
Miner BHP Billiton may be forced to scrap its plan to rewrite the way billions of dollars of iron ore are sold every year after rival Rio Tinto struck a benchmark deal with China, analysts said on Tuesday.
Brambles, the world's biggest pallet supplier, flagged solid profit growth this fiscal year and sought to reassure investors it was not about to lose valuable business from U.S. retailgiant Wal-Mart Stores.
Chinese steelmakers narrowly averted a showdown with Australian iron ore suppliers, when they agreed to a higher-than-expected rise in term iron ore prices a week before they would have had to start paying much higher spot prices.
Asian markets closed in the red Monday, but were well off their session lows as investors took the opportunity to buy beaten down stocks.
Asian markets were mixed Friday as regional stocks reacted to China's hiking of fuel prices. Trading has been volatile throughout the session with markets, particularly in Shanghai, making radical swings between positive and negative territory.