WASHINGTON— More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring improves for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/ 2- year recovery. The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and was unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16..» Read More
WASHINGTON, Dec 11- Senior defense officials from Singapore got to see U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighter jets in action on Tuesday at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona as the Asian country mulls buying the Lockheed Martin Corp planes, a base spokeswoman said.
TOKYO, Dec 11- A central bank survey out next week is expected to show Japanese business confidence improved in the three months to December as robust fiscal and household spending made up for soft exports-- thanks to Premier Shinzo Abe's stimulus policies.
*GM exit plans follows Ford, concerns about Toyota future. *Toyota says decision puts it under "unprecedented pressure".
*CPI data due on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 1200 GMT. BANGALORE, Dec 11- Indian inflation is forecast to remain close to 9- month highs in November, a Reuters poll showed, putting further pressure on the central bank to follow up on its back-to-back interest rate hikes despite slowing economic growth.
LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 11- It's taken some time but there are signs that the cost-cutting efforts by major commodity producers such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are starting to convince investors.
"Markets are getting a bit wary on how much steam this rally has and we are seeing some profit taking at these levels," said a trader at a European Bank in Hong Kong.
TOKYO, Dec 11- Japanese government bond prices were slightly higher on Wednesday against a backdrop of moderately firmer U.S. Treasuries overnight and weaker Tokyo stocks. Buying by the Bank of Japan also lent support.
"U.S. fiscal issues are likely to be less of an issue for investors next year," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital. Celebrations were certainly muted in Asia, with Japan's Nikkei off 0.9 percent and South Korean shares down 0.6 percent even as the country reported its lowest jobless rate on record.
HONG KONG, Dec 11- China shares sank to their lowest in more than a week early Wednesday, weighing on Hong Kong markets, as coal producers slid after the country's top economic planner said its use will be curbed to combat pollution.
*Gold eases after 3- day rally. SINGAPORE, Dec 11- Gold snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday but was well-supported near a three-week high, boosted by short-covering and weakness in the dollar. However, it depends on whether it can hold support at $1,250 and the Fed meeting next week, "said a Hong Kong- based precious metals trader.
SYDNEY, Dec 11- Toyota Motor Corp is likely to close its production in Australia, after General Motors Co said it would end vehicle and engine manufacturing in the country by the end of 2017, an Australian labour union official said on Wednesday.
*No immediate reaction to budget deal in Washington. TOKYO, Dec 11- The dollar wobbled near a six-week low against a basket of currencies on Wednesday, hurt by the perception the Federal Reserve is in no hurry to trim its monetary stimulus.
SYDNEY, Dec 11- General Motors Co said it would end vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, dealing a severe blow to the country's auto sector.
*Dexus, CPPIB hike offer for CPA to A $1.27 per unit. SYDNEY, Dec 11- A bidding war for Australia's Commonwealth Property Office Fund escalated after Dexus Property Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board hiked their joint offer- a move expected to prompt a higher bid from a rival suitor.
Dec 11- General Motors Co said it would end vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, dealing a severe blow to the country's auto sector.
MUMBAI, Dec 11- When Franklin Templeton's India unit wanted to launch a mutual fund that would switch allocation among stocks, bonds, gold and money markets, the Indian regulator baulked, deeming it too risky for domestic investors, according to the company.
SINGAPORE, Dec 11- Brent drifted above $109 a barrel on Wednesday as traders focused on the narrowing of its spread to U.S. futures ahead of U.S. inventories data that is forecast to show a drop in crude stockpiles.
WASHINGTON, Dec 10- The modest $85 billion U.S. budget deal reached in Congress on Tuesday gives both Democrats and Republicans something to brag about. But airline travelers, newly hired federal employees and some military retirees would lose out in the agreement to be presented to Congress for approval in the next two weeks.
Dec 11- British bus and rail operator FirstGroup Plc has received a letter from one of its biggest shareholders, urging the company to sell its U.S. businesses in order to pay down debt, the Financial Times reported.
SHANGHAI, Dec 11- Five Chinese banks will sell 19 billion yuan of negotiable certificates of deposits on Thursday, the official Shanghai Clearing House announced on its website, ushering a new phase for the liberalisation of Chinese interest rates.