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Asian stocks 2008 - Japan & china & australia- Recap of 2008 - how did they perform

Asian stocks rose the most this year, led by Newcrest Mining Ltd. and Jiangxi Copper Ltd., after surging demand drove prices of metals to records.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. led drugmakers higher as investors sought shares least affected by an economic slowdown, driving a gauge of health-care companies to its biggest gain in four months. Lawson Inc. and FamilyMart Co. rose after the Japanese operators of convenience-store chains posted higher sales.

``The boom on commodities has provided investors an excuse for buying into metal shares, which are one of the market favorites now,'' said Lu Yizhen, who helps manage the equivalent of $640 million at Citic-Prudential Fund Management Co. in Shanghai.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.9 percent to 154.47 as of 3:23 p.m. in Tokyo, erasing earlier losses of as much as 0.7 percent. The benchmark was set for its biggest advance since Dec. 31. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.5 percent to 14,599.16.

Automakers fell, led by Honda Motor Co., after a bigger- than-forecast drop in U.S. home sales added to concern that Asia's largest export market may slip into recession. National Australia Bank Ltd. paced declines among banks after Merrill Lynch & Co. said Citigroup Inc. may face additional writedowns.

U.S. stocks retreated yesterday, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to the lowest level since March.

Newcrest jumped 6.6 percent to A$39.28, a record. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan's biggest gold producer, rose 5 percent to 1,907 yen. Zijin Mining Group Co., owner of China's largest gold mine, advanced 3.3 percent to HK$13.20 in Hong Kong.

Gold, Copper

Gold for immediate delivery climbed to a record $882.55 an ounce recently as a weakening dollar sparks demand for alternative assets. Platinum also climbed to a high, and copper gained in Shanghai by the exchange-imposed daily limit. Gold and copper are having their best start to the year since at least 1980, according to analysts including commodity broker Okachi & Co.'s Takaki Shigemoto.

Jiangxi Copper, China's second-largest producer of the metal, advanced 4.2 percent to HK$19.68. Nippon Mining Holdings Inc., which controls Japan's biggest copper smelter, added 3.5 percent to 714 yen.

Takeda, Japan's largest drugmaker, rose 3 percent to 6,480 yen. Astellas Pharma Inc., the nation's second-biggest, added 3.5 percent to 4,690 yen, snapping a four-day, 7.6 percent decline.

Health Stocks Rally

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Health Care Index jumped 2.2 percent today, the biggest advance since Sept. 7. Drug stocks led gains in Europe yesterday and were the only one of 10 industry groups to rise in the S&P 500.

Toyama Chemical Co. surged 106 percent to 735 yen after saying studies of a potential flu drug are progressing. Nichi-iko Pharmaceutical advanced 6.5 percent to 2,625 yen after Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s Kyoko Sato rated the stock ``buy'' in new coverage.

Lawson jumped 5.9 percent to 3,930 yen, its first advance since Dec. 20. FamilyMart, Japan's third-largest convenience- store chain, rose 5.2 percent to 3,460 yen.

Lawson and FamilyMart, which are gaining market share from supermarkets, both reported a 6.9 percent increase in nine-month revenue yesterday. Total sales at Japan's convenience stores have risen for the past five months as operators open new outlets and increase commissions from automatic-teller machines.

`Gets Worse'

Shares of Honda Motor and Hyundai Motor Co. declined after the National Association of Realtors said pending U.S. home sales fell 2.6 percent in November, reinforcing concern that U.S. demand for imports will wane.

``It gets worse by the day,'' said Hans Kunnen, who helps manage $128 billion at Colonial First State Global Asset Management in Sydney. ``There is a growing possibility of a mild recession.''

Honda Motor, Japan's second-largest automaker, fell 0.9 percent to 3,480 yen. Hyundai Motor, South Korea's biggest, declined 0.4 percent to 68,800 won.

Lenovo Group Ltd., the world's No. 3 maker of personal computers, slumped 11 percent to HK$5.86, the biggest loss in 14 months. The company's profit for the year ending March 2009 may be 31 percent less than previously estimated on lower sales and rising costs, CLSA Ltd. analyst Jenny Lai said. She cut her rating on the stock to ``sell.''

National Australia Bank, the country's second-biggest provider of mortgages, lost 1.2 percent to A$35.59. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank by market value, declined 0.6 percent to HK$127.50 in Hong Kong.

Citigroup, the biggest U.S. bank, may be forced to write down $16 billion in the fourth quarter, Merrill Lynch analyst Guy Moszkowski said in a note. He almost doubled his estimate for Citigroup's loss.


Commonwealth Bank Raises Interest Rate on Home Loans 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised its variable interest rate on mortgages to recoup higher funding costs, the third major Australian bank to increase borrowing costs in the past week without any action from the central bank.

Commonwealth Bank, the nation's second-largest, will raise the rate for new and existing variable home loans by 0.1 percentage point to 8.67 percent from Jan. 11, it said today in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange. The bank also lifted its rate for variable business loans by 0.15 percentage points.


  1. nice blog !!!!!!!!
    last year i went to china tour in that i like : Zhao Mausoleum (Zhao Ling)
    about : Zhao Mausoleum (Zhao Ling)
    Zhaoling is the mausoleum of Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty (618-907); he was one of the most brilliant rulers in Chinese history. Located in Jiuzong Mountain, 83 kilometers (51.5miles) from downtown Xian, Shaanxi, Zhaoling is the largest among the 18 mausoleums of the Tang Dynasty. It is also the largest royal mausoleum in the world.
    Covering an area of 87.5 square miles, Zhaoling has 190 satellite tombs that have been verified with 37 which have been excavated. Th owners of the satellite tombs include famous ministers, royal families and high officials. All five forms of satellite burials in history have been represented here thereby justifying Zhaoling as the most typical imperial mausoleum in China. The configuration of Emperor Taizong's tomb as it overlooks the satellite ones symbolizes the utmost authority of the emperor.
    The style of Zhaoling as it is set against the mountain is a miniature of the renovation in Tang Dynasty. Record has it that before her death, Empress Wende told Emperor Taizong that her burial site should be placed against a mountain so that there would be no need to build a tomb. After her burial, the Emperor wrote on the tombstone that an emperor regarded the whole world as his family. Why be bound to a mausoleum? In the mausoleum against Jiuzong Mountain, there was no gold or jade or anything precious except for some earthen and wooden wares. These were placed here to pacify thieves; their existence or loss was not important. From the excavated parts of the mausoleum, we could now say that the whole project was lavish instead of thrifty. Therefore, in setting the tomb against the mountain they protected it from theft rather than the initial propose as requested by the empress.
    The construction of the mausoleum lasted 107 years beginning with burial of Empress Wende in 636 until completion in 741. Rich cultural relics were left on the ground and underground. Zhaoling as a witness to the development from the beginning of Tang to its eventual prosperity. It is also a valuable treasury to help us know the culture, politics and economy of the Chinese feudal society; kept in Zhaoling are large quantities of calligraphy, sculpture and painting works. The epitaphs written by reputed calligraphers in Zhaoling can be said to be the norm of calligraphy in the beginning of Tang Dynasty. Murals in Zhaoling are a portraiture of the real life in Tang Dynasty with a romantic touch. Glazed pottery figures are daintily designed with bright colors.


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