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Asia Top News and Analysis Japan

  • BUDAPEST, Oct 12- Hungary is close to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on setting up a financial safety net, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Orban said pressure on Hungary to secure a deal at all costs had abated and confidence in the country had strengthened recently.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- Iran's finance minister said on Friday that despite sanctions imposed on the country by Western nations, Iran's foreign exchange reserves are in a "good position".

  • CANBERRA, Oct 12- Australian shares edged up 0.1 percent on Friday as gains in index-heavy mining stocks helped break a two-day run of losses, but the market still ended slightly down on the week. gained 0.9 percent to A $33.54 and major rival Rio Tinto Ltd rose 1.8 percent to A $56.40, helped by a rebound in iron ore prices.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- Japan's Nikkei share average slipped to its lowest close in more than two months for the second day in a row on Friday, with Softbank Corp. tumbling 17 percent after it said it was in talks to invest in U.S. firm Sprint Nextel. But losses were capped by gains in exporters gained as news of the potentially huge deal helped weaken the yen.

  • BUDAPEST, Oct 12- Hungary is close to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a financial safety net, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. "There is a good chance. Orban said further progress in the talks could be made after the IMF concludes its annual meetings in Tokyo.

  • SINGAPORE, Oct 12- India's Reliance Industries. Itochu paid close to $50 a tonne premium to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board basis for the 25,000- tonne heavy naphtha cargo for Oct. 21-25 loading.

  • TAIPEI, Oct 12- Taiwan stocks ended 0.2 percent lower on Friday, constrained by concerns over weak company earnings, though computer maker Acer Inc. ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKET REPORTS: Japan.......... A multimedia version of Reuters Top News is available at:.

  • CANBERRA, Oct 12- Australian shares edged up 0.1 percent on Friday as gains in index-heavy mining stocks helped break a two-day run of losses, but the market still ended slightly down on the week. Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd. gained 0.9 percent to A $33.54 and major rival Rio Tinto Ltd rose 1.8 percent to A $56.40, helped by a rebound in iron ore prices.

  • LONDON, Oct 12- European stocks were set to open slightly lower on Friday as expectations for a weak earnings season and lingering uncertainty about Spain's debt crisis kept investors on the back foot after healthy gains in the previous session. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 15 to 18 points lower, or as much as 0.3 percent.

  • Porsche indicated 0.6 pct lower, Volkswagen 0.1 pct lower. The holding company of German carmaker Porsche has received a fresh lawsuit from the family of a deceased industrialist, linked to its 2008 attempt to take over Volkswagen.

  • Weekly applications for unemployment aid fell to their lowest since February 2008, the U.S. government said Thursday. "I think you need to wait for a few months to see more figures to confirm the jobs recovery in the U.S.," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong.

  • *Softbank shares down as much as 17 pct in Tokyo* Softbank and Sprint have confirmed in talks By Taro Fuse and Mari Saito.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5 hit eastern Japan on Friday, public broadcaster NHK said.

  • *Territorial spat between Japan and China may hit sales. TOKYO, Oct 12- Japan's government downgraded its view of the economy for the third straight month in October as worries about Europe's debt crisis and China's slowdown intensified, adding pressure on the central bank to offer further stimulus to support growth.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- Three large Japanese banks are considering providing 1.8 trillion yen in syndicated loans to Softbank Corp, allowing the Japanese mobile carrier to bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

  • LONDON-- Financial markets slipped on Friday, as disappointing earnings from Wells Fargo bank offset brighter figures from JP Morgan Chase& Co. and a strong U.S. consumer confidence survey. But revenue gains reported by Wells Fargo were below investors' expectations, pushing stock markets back down by the time European exchanges closed.

  • Billionaire Vincent Bollore plans to list shares of his holding company's electric-car-and-batteries unit next year, the French tycoon told daily Les Echos in an interview. The French ad group said it had acquired 117,415 shares in LBi International NV as part of a deal to acquire the Dutch agency announced in September.

  • *FTSE 100 down 0.5 percent on day, 1.2 pct on week. LONDON, Oct 12- Britain's FTSE 100 fell on Friday, dented by corporate earnings concerns after a second profit warning in a week from the engineering sector and by more weak data from mega metals consumer China.

  • TOKYO, Oct 12- Japanese wireless service provider Softbank Corp is in talks with three major Japanese banks to borrow $23 billion to finance a bid for U.S. operator Sprint Nextel Corp, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

  • The governor of Lombardy refused to resign over a widening graft scandal on Thursday but said he would appoint a new government for Italy's wealthiest and most populous region, adding to political disarray six months from general elections.