August 15th, 2011
10:03 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Today in Asia-Pacific, markets closed the day higher across the board, adding to moderate gains this past Friday. Better-than-expected GDP data from Japan and four-month high retail numbers from the United States helped boost investor confidence. Markets started in the green and kept climbing through the day. By the close, we saw major markets gain between 1.30% and 3.26%.

The Nikkei ended up 1.37% to close past the psychological 9,000-mark. Japan’s latest GDP number also came out. They showed the country’s economy shrank 1.3% year-on-year. Anemic? Yes. A good number, regardless? Definitely. Forecasts had expected Japan’s GDP contraction to come in at about 2.5%.  The yen, though, is still a chronic concern for exporters. As of 4.30 pm Hong Kongtime, it was trading at 76.82 to the dollar. Automakers veered around the yen’s strength. Toyota rose 2.9%, Nissan rose 3.3% and Honda throttled ahead at 3.4%.
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Filed under: AsiaBusinessChinaHong KongJapan


August 15th, 2011
01:54 AM GMT
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(CNN) – For a month that's normally slow in the markets, August is turning out to be a roller-coaster ride.

First, the United States finally raises its debt ceiling but Wall Street does not react with much relief. Instead, weak spending and manufacturing data cause the markets to slide. FULL POST



August 12th, 2011
12:02 PM GMT
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Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) Many South Africans have been smug watching the images of lawlessness, anarchy and violence on London’s streets.

As hooded youths burnt and trashed the streets of London, there has been a sense of self-satisfied bemusement from the country that hosted last year’s World Cup football.  So much so, the spokesperson of the opposition party, the DA, mentioned on Twitter that she was “perturbed” by the tone of tweets posted by South Africans and asked if “the chips on our shoulders are really that deep?”

In the years leading up to the 2010 tournament, the British tabloid press in particular irritated many South Africans with constant assessments of how “unsafe” South Africa is. Proud locals felt that many English football fans were dissuaded from attending the World Cup because of the fear campaign generated by the British media.
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August 12th, 2011
09:48 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Most Asia-Pacific markets ended Friday moderately higher, rounding out a week of wild volatility. Better-than-expected data out of the U.S. – including lower jobless claims numbers and good earnings from tech bellwether Cisco – helped boost investor confidence.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.20%, failing to stay above the psychological 9,000-point mark after briefly touching it in morning trade. At 430 pm Hong Kong time, the yen was trading at 76.71 to the dollar, once again nearing its post-war high. That strength impacted exporters. Auto manufacturers Nissan and Honda were down, 2.26% and 1.25% respectively. Electronics maker Sony closed down 2.04%.

In Greater China, the Hang Seng closed up 0.13%, paring earlier gains. That was not enough to break a longer downward trend. Today marks a third week of overall losses for the index. Li & Fung soared today after beating first-half net income forecasts by about $30 million. The company supplies clothes and other consumer goods to Wal-Mart after inking a major deal in January 2010.  The Shanghai Composite closed 0.45% higher, following the region’s climb on those good U.S. numbers, as well as on continued speculation the People’s Bank of China will avoid raising interest rates in its fight against inflation, which currently stands at 6.5%.
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Filed under: AsiaBusiness


August 12th, 2011
12:12 AM GMT
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(CNN) - For two days markets have been awash with rumors that French sovereign debt was about to be downgraded and that the French bank Societe Generale was in financial trouble. Was it true? At times it didn't matter.

The French market and SocGen's share price were pummeled by investors who decided there must be some truth in all of this. It was only when the ratings agencies reaffirmed France’s AAA rating and SocGen denied all rumors – without even saying what they were – that things got better.

Every day cold hard facts are the fuel that drives the markets: News about a company or country, favorable or not. But markets are living organisms, made up of Alpha type men and women desperate to take advantage of situations real or perceived. So in the absence of facts, they will listen to rumors and try and judge whether those rumors are likely to be true; then buy or sell on the back of them.

For instance, last Friday the big rumor was that the U.S. was about to lose its AAA rating. No one from the ratings agencies would confirm or deny it, so the rumor just got stronger. And the rumor was true: After the market closed S&P did downgrade American debt.
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August 11th, 2011
01:25 PM GMT
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In episode 36 of "The Boss" there's no rest for Francis Lui as he meets with his senior managers to discuss what's working and what isn't in the newly opened Galaxy Macau.

And in New York, Steve Hindy gets his first glimpse of the gleaming new tanks that will help transform the future of his company.

Filed under: The Boss


August 11th, 2011
09:44 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – It’s not as bad as it could have been for Asia-Pacific markets following Wednesday’s 4% falls on the U.S. indices.

The Nikkei slumped 0.63% but a dark milestone looms ahead. The index continues to near its lowest close in the past five months. Financial-related stocks led today’s declines. Japan’s largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, fell 1.9%. Sumitomo Mitsui dropped 1.8%. In a one-two punch, the yen is again nearing a post-war high. A stronger yen hurts Japan’s exporters – when they repatriate earnings made overseas they receive less yen in the exchange. Automakers Honda and Nissan each fell close to 3.5%.

In Greater China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.95% paring earlier losses. Major financial-related stocks were again hit. HSBC Holdings and Bank of China both closed down about 3.5%. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite managed an early afternoon rally to end higher by 1.27%. Speculation is growing the People’s Bank of China may keep interest rates steady which is helping to calm investor jitters.

On the Korean peninsula, the Seoul KOSPI managed to eke out a gain of 0.62%. Investor confidence rose after South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea, announced it would keep its benchmark interest rate on hold at 3.25%.
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August 11th, 2011
01:01 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – As world markets remain in turmoil and economists bet on a return to recession, hedge fund managers are being given another chance to prove they are worth their hefty pay packets.

Hedge funds are similar to mutual funds in that they raise capital from investors and pool it together.

But it’s what they do with that money that makes them different.

Like other funds, they measure their performance against an index buying stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies. Yet, hedge funds also use an array of sophisticated investment techniques which allow them to make money not just when markets are rising but when they are falling as well.
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August 10th, 2011
08:15 PM GMT
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(CNN) – The topsy-turvy world of the stock markets continued Wednesday with the main indices all off very sharply. Today's serious falls came when Wall Street opened and tumbled sharply.

It was a classic case of the European market grumbling for most of the day, seeking direction from the U.S. - and then responding accordingly.

Behind the falls are real and growing worries about the economic health of the major economies.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, said: "There are a number of headwinds to world and domestic growth ... and these headwinds are becoming stronger by the day."

The U.S. Federal Reserves statement yesterday said U.S. growth this year was "considerably slower" than expected, "household spending had flattened out" and the housing sector remained "depressed."

Most important of all, the Fed has announced for the first time that it will keep rates low until 2013: A remarkable admission of the weakness being faced.
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August 10th, 2011
07:04 PM GMT
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Editors note:  David Buik is a veteran commentator and partner of BGC partners. This is his take on the markets of August 9, 2011.

I have been associated with markets for 49 years and I have never, ever known such volatility such as the Dow experienced [on] 9th August 2011, from the opening at 1.30pm BST up until 5.30pm BST, and there were still 4 hours to go.

The Dow had moved 2000 points from the opening – down 3%, then up 6%, then down 4%, then up 3%, then down 2% and at 5.30pm it was up 2% at 11033 (20% movement).

Quite astonishing! I was there for October 1987, where of course it moved more violently in one direction (down 20%) and also in October 2008, when it fell 9%.
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Filed under: Business


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