Asian Markets Overview of November 26

Asian stocks markets broadly dropped on Thursday despite Wall Street posted a solid gain overnight. Tokyo shares opened lower as the stronger yen continued to dampen investors' sentiment. In Hong Kong market, China Minsheng Banking Corp failed to lift the Hang Seng Index in its debut. Shanghai and Seoul shares also declined as their Asian peers.

The Japanese currency's strength is largely due to US dollar's weakness. Euro, the Australian dollar and other currencies are also rising against the greenback.

Company News

Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Co (WISCO) (SSE:600005), a Chinese state-owned steel mill, has formally taken a 13.04 per cent stake in Australian iron ore supplier Centrex Metals Ltd (ASX:CXM). Ultimately WISCO intends to invest up to A$271 million in Centrex, after the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board agreed to allow the two companies to develop a series of iron ore projects and a deep water port on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

Suntech Power Japan Corp., a unit of China's Suntech Power Holdings Co.(NYSE:STP), will begin selling solar power generation systems for new homes early next year. It currently markets its products through building materials vendors and 450 Yamada Denki Co. (TYO:9831) stores nationwide. Suntech Japan has inked contracts with around 10 midsize homebuilders and will have them install solar power systems when they build custom and ready-built homes.

Toyota Motor Corp (TYO:7203)(NYSE:TM) plans to replace the gas pedals on 4 million vehicles in the United States because the pedals can get stuck in the floor mats and cause sudden acceleration. The massive recall is the largest in the U.S. for Toyota. Toyota would not say how much the repairs would cost, but analysts expected them to be extremely expensive because of the work involved and the manufacturing of new pedals.

South Korea's two major airlines are likely to increase fuel surcharges for international routes in January to reflect a rise in jet fuel prices. Korean Air Co. (SEO:003490) and domestic rival Asiana Airlines Inc. (SEO:020560) may raise their fuel surcharges for one-way long-haul flights to Europe and the U.S. to US$41 from US$32, said a Korean media.

Shares of China Minsheng Banking Corp.(HKG:1988) made a tepid debut Thursday in Hong Kong as investors have a view that it's overpriced, despite heavy subscriptions for Hong Kong's largest initial public offering of 2009. The recent news about the possible tightening lending in China's banking industry also dented investors' sentiment. Minsheng had raised HK$29 billion after pricing its 3.32 billion new share offering at HK$9.08.


Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344


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