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Old 09-28-2011, 06:39 AM   Nav to Top  #31
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Post Barroso comments lifts euro, risk appetite shaky

(Reuters) - The euro edged up against the dollar on Wednesday after a top EU official indicated more would be done to resolve the debt crisis but was vulnerable to selling in the absence of concrete steps to beef up region's rescue fund.

In his State of the Union address European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he expected the European Central Bank would ensure the stability of the euro area and indicated Greek banks could receive more help.

He also said the euro zone could issue jointly underwritten bonds once there was deeper integration.

The single currency rose to last trade up 0.2 percent on the day at $1.3623, and off a low of $1.3541. It pared some of the previous day's gains when it hit a high of $1.3668.

But market players warned the lift from Barroso's comments and a bounce the previous day on talk of proposals to leverage up the 440 billion euros European Financial Stability Facility, could just be temporary.

"Barroso sounded very optimistic but I don't think he will be able to give much lasting impetus to the FX market," said Lutz Karpowitz, currency analyst at Commerzbank.

"The recovery in euro/dollar and in equity markets amid speculation we might see leveraging of the EFSF was overdone. I cannot see how that proposal will work and there is likely to be some disappointment ahead in the market."

Event risk remains high for the euro this week, with the Finnish parliament voting on proposals to enlarge the EFSF as agreed back in July later on Wednesday, while Germany's parliament votes on Thursday.

Technical charts showed as long as the euro remained stuck below resistance at $1.3670/1.3710 the risk was for a break of $1.3540 support. A move below $1.3470 would open the door to new lows in the $1.3250/00 area.

YEN STRENGTH

Meanwhile, the yen rose, buoyed by Japanese fund repatriation and buying by Japanese exporters ahead of the quarter-end and the end of Japan's financial half-year.

The dollar slipped 0.5 percent to 76.42 yen, not far from a record low of 75.941 yen hit in August on trading platform EBS. Traders cited heavy system fund stops layered under 75.90 yen and real money stops under 75.70 yen.

The euro fell 0.3 percent to 104.13 yen paring some of the previous day's gains, when it climbed 1.1 percent. The euro had hit a decade-low versus the yen near 101.95 earlier in the week.

Some market players had been speculating Japan could intervene this week ahead of its financial half-year end, to offer some relief to Japanese exporters, which have been stung by the dollar's 5.9 percent drop versus the yen so far in 2011.

Tsutomu Soma, senior manager at Okasan Securities' foreign securities department in Tokyo said that while yen-selling intervention may be a possibility, it would probably only happen if moves in the yen turned particularly violent.

"If the dollar falls below its record low near 75.95 yen, triggers some stops and the move becomes volatile, I think there is the possibility of another one-off intervention," he said.

The Australian dollar edged 0.1 percent higher to $0.9911, although selling by model funds weighed on the currency, traders said. It struck a 10-month trough of $0.9622 earlier in the week.

The dollar index firmed slightly, up 0.15 percent at 77.618 as risk sentiment remained fragile.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech at 2100 GMT and might offer some reaction to the market's mostly negative response to last week's Operation Twist. Any hint that even more easing is possible could help underpin risk appetite.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:56 AM   Nav to Top  #32
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Money Empire Global FX: Invest in Safe Havens...

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Old 09-28-2011, 06:11 PM   Nav to Top  #33
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Post Wall Street drops, led by commodities on economic fear

(Reuters) - Commodity-related stocks drove Wall Street lower on Wednesday as stiff declines in energy and metals prices underscored investor concerns about global economic weakness and Europe's raging debt crisis.

A sharp 7 percent dive in the price of copper, seen as a leading indicator for the economy, rattled investors and led to a drop of 4.5 percent in the S&P materials index. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc fell 7.3 percent to $32.29.

Investors were on a knife edge as inspectors from the EU and IMF headed to Greece to scrutinize austerity plans while German Chancellor Angela Merkel worked to defuse a revolt within her government ahead of a vote to expand Europe's bailout fund on Thursday.

Wednesday's declines put the S&P 500 on course for its worst quarter since the high noon of the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2008. The drop also illustrates how sensitive the market has become to news on Europe's troubles.

"There is certainly a lot of headline risk and a lot of weak hands that hold stocks after this big rally we've had in the last three days," said Robert Francello, head of equity trading for Apex Capital, a hedge fund in San Francisco.

"Traders who have either gotten long during the rally or covered their shorts are probably going just to flatten themselves out, either taking profits or getting out of the market," he said.

Brent crude resumed its downward trend, falling more than $3 in afternoon trade, sending an S&P index of energy stocks down 3 percent. Chevron fell 1.9 percent to $91.74.

News early in the afternoon that bans on short-selling stocks in France, Italy and Spain have been extended highlighted the regulatory risk faced by investors and increased selling pressure.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 179.79 points, or 1.61 percent, to 11,010.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 24.32 points, or 2.07 percent, to 1,151.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 55.25 points, or 2.17 percent, to 2,491.58.

Traders said volume would likely be light and market movements accentuated during the rest of the quarter due to the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

So far, the S&P 500 has fallen 12.8 percent this quarter, its worst decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 when it fell 22.6 percent.

In the commodities sector, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc sank 8.4 percent to $55.66. Gold prices fell more than 2 percent.

"It's fear of a global slowdown," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York. "It's a pure flight to safety into the dollar here, and that's killing commodities."

A push to solidify a euro-zone rescue fund and alleviate the region's sovereign debt crisis lifted stocks on Tuesday for a third consecutive session, following four straight days of losses for the benchmark S&P 500. The S&P gained more than 4 percent over that three-day period.

Amazon.com Inc gained 2.5 percent to $229.71 after it unveiled a new tablet computer with a $199 price tag. Apple Inc, which makes the popular iPad tablet, fell 0.6 percent to $397.01.

Microsoft Corp dipped 0.4 percent to $25.58 after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled software pacts with the company.

In earnings news, Jabil Circuit Inc advanced 8.2 percent to $18.81 a day after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations, while Family Dollar Stores Inc fell 1.6 percent to $53.31 after its results.

In economic news, orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods slipped in August on weak demand for motor vehicles, but a rebound in a gauge of business spending suggested the economy would avoid another recession.

About five stocks fell for every one that rose on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. About 7.96 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, in line with this year's average.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:13 AM   Nav to Top  #34
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Post Asian stocks fall on euro crisis fears


(Reuters) - Asian shares and commodities fell on Thursday on growing worries that Europe's intractable debt problems will plunge the world into a second global financial crisis.


Copper fell 3 percent, gold slipped toward $1,600 an ounce to stand more than $300 below its record high earlier this month, and commodities-related stocks such as global miner Rio Tinto were dumped on worries that demand will weaken as the international economy slows.

The past week has seen a broad sell-off of commodities, equities and emerging markets bonds and a rally in the dollar that has been reminiscent of the rout surrounding the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank three years ago.

"It seems periods of optimism are getting shorter and the pessimism is getting longer," said David Land, analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"This is being driven by the clear realization that while there are many plans as to how to deal with the Euro situation, the reality of getting agreement will be that much harder."

Tokyo's Nikkei share average fell 1 percent, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.8 percent, with its materials sub-index shedding more than 2 percent.

S&P 500 index futures were mildly negative, after Wall Street's broad benchmark dropped 2.1 percent on Wednesday.

"The market situation is still tough, with worries about global growth," said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management in Tokyo.

GERMAN VOTE

The latest source of nervousness was a vote in Germany's parliament at 0900 GMT on Thursday to approve new powers for the euro zone's 440 billion euro ($598 billion) rescue fund.

While opposition votes will ensure the bill passes, a big rebellion within Chancellor Angela Merkel's own center-right coalition could weaken her politically and cloud future policy making at a time when financial markets and other nations are urging euro zone leaders to act boldly and decisively.

The euro was a little firmer around $1.3555, while the dollar rose 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies.

"You would suspect weakness until Germany votes, given that it is the big guy that has to fund it," said Gavin Stacey, head of Australia and New Zealand research at Barclays Capital.

"The euro is most likely to continue its trend deterioration until it gets really bad, forcing a resolution to come."

Commodities continued to slide, with copper, which is highly sensitive to expectations for global growth, falling 3 percent to $7,036.75 a tonne.

U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.6 percent to $80.70 a barrel and Brent crude lost 0.4 percent to $103.37.

Gold, which has seen a shift from a negative to a positive correlation with riskier assets over the past week or so as investors seeking safety have turned their back on the metal in favor of the dollar and U.S. Treasuries, fell 0.2 percent to around $1,605 an ounce.

Japanese government bonds were in demand for their safe haven appeal, with the benchmark 10-year yield falling 1 basis point to 0.995 percent following similar moves in Treasuries, where the 10-year yield dipped back below 2 percent on Wednesday.
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:54 AM   Nav to Top  #35
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Post Worst quarter for UK, German, French stocks in 9 years

(Reuters) - Shares in major European economies suffered their biggest quarterly loss in nine years, hit by concerns the global economy was slipping into recession and the euro zone debt crisis was deepening with Greece facing possible default.

The steep sell-off this quarter, wiping $1.2 trillion off European share values, was sparked by an intensification in the euro zone sovereign debt crisis and concerns the United States could be heading for a recession.

U.S. and German government bonds, however, were in demand as investors sought shelter in safe-haven assets.

Karen Olney of UBS said European stock valuations may be cheap but investors would remain cautious until euro zone politicians can come up with a decisive plan to finally put to rest the bloc's debt crisis, now threatening Italy and Spain, its third and fourth largest economies.

"Politicians tend to react better when the markets are falling than rising. If we don't get a solution imminently, we could have another leg down," said Olney, head of European thematic research at UBS.

"In a rising market, they are not going to come up with a grand slam plan. If the markets are suffering again, they may be pushed to come up with a solution that we need. This is why some people consider Europe difficult to invest in, almost uninvestable at the moment."

Among the worst to suffer in the recent sell-off was Germany's DAX finance/markets/index?symbol=de%21daxx">.GDAXI which had outperformed all other European markets in the first half of the year.

The German blue-chip index, home to conglomerate Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and automakers Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and BMW (BMWG.DE), lost 25.4 percent in July-September, its worst quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2002.

SHORTING BAN

France's CAC 40 .FCHI, and Spain's IBEX 35 .IBEX also posted their biggest three-month fall since the third quarter of 2002, despite their regulators, along with those from Italy and Belgium, banning short selling of financial stocks starting on August 12.

The CAC 40 fell 25.1 percent in July-September, with French bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) losing 51 percent over the same period -- its biggest quarterly loss ever.

The IBEX 35 index, meanwhile, was off 17.5 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB .FTMIB was down 26.5 percent.

Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 13.7 percent, faring better than other major European markets but still posting its worst three-month performance in nine years.

That compared with a 17.1 percent fall over the same period for the pan-regional STOXX Europe 600 .STOXX index, which was its biggest quarterly loss since the fourth quarter of 2008 after the global economy was sent into a tailspin following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

In terms of valuations, the DAX and the CAC 40 carried a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 8 and 7.7 respectively, slightly cheaper than the FTSE 100's 8.8 and the U.S. S&P 500's .SPX 10.9, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.

"You don't get a sustainable rally until either the growth outlook improves or you get substantial progress on the sovereign debt crisis. In the absence of either of those things, investors should remain cautious and defensive positioned," said Ronan Carr, European equity strategist at Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley was "overweight" telecoms .SXKP and healthcare .SXDP, and "underweight" banks .SX7P and industrials .SXNP.

However, RBS analysts said both the DAX and the FTSE 100 looked hard done by, based on their index composition, with German auto stocks and UK oil stocks among the most attractive on a relative value basis.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:05 AM   Nav to Top  #36
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Post Brent down in biggest quarterly drop since Q2 2010

(Reuters) - Oil prices slumped on Friday on renewed global economic worries, pushing back Brent more than 10 percent this month for its biggest quarterly decline in five quarters.

U.S. crude futures fared even worse, posting their weakest quarterly performance since the financial crisis of 2008 as a wobbly economy sparked more demand worries.

Crude futures fell with a broad array of commodities, led by copper, which with U.S. equities tumbled to its worst quarter since 2008. <.

In London, ICE crude for November delivery settled at $102.76 a barrel, dropping $1.19, or 1.14 percent, after touching a session low of $101.78.

For the quarter, Brent crude fell $9.72, or 8.64 percent, the biggest percentage loss since the second quarter of 2010. For the month, front-month Brent dropped $12.09, or 10.53 percent, the biggest monthly decline since May 2010.

U.S. November crude settled at $79.20 a barrel, falling $2.94, after dropping to an intraday low of $78.77.

For the quarter, U.S. crude fell $16.22, or 17 percent, the biggest percentage loss since the fourth quarter of 2008. For the month, it dropped $9.61, or 10.82 percent, the biggest monthly decline since May 2010.

Brent's premium against U.S. crude rose back to $23.56, after dropping to $21.81 on Thursday.

CHINA DATA ADDS TO CLOUDY OUTLOOK

The day's sell-off began after data showed that China's manufacturing sector contracted for a third consecutive month in September, adding to doubts about Europe's ability to solve its debt crisis.

That drove investors to sell riskier assets such as equities and commodities. Trading was volatile on quarter-end booksquaring, traders said.

The dollar rose while the euro sank, curbing risk sentiment across many commodities markets. .DXY

A gloomy economic outlook and weak demand in the United States have dragged markets down this quarter, while the expected return of oil exports from Libya, cut off by the civil war, added a bearish spin this month.

"Declines in the stock market and the euro prompted much of today's weakness amidst reduced risk appetite," said Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois.

Trading in Brent was more hectic than U.S. crude, reaching 701,000 contracts as of 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT), which was 33 percent above its 30-day average.

U.S. crude volume hit nearly 599,000 contracts, down 5.3 percent from its 30-day average.

OPEC, LIBYA ADDING TO GLOBAL SUPPLIES

Supply from all 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is forecast to average 30.25 million barrels a day this month, up from 30.15 million in August, according to a Reuters survey.

Libya's output has begun to recover after falling to almost nothing in the civil war, the survey found. The country exported one small crude cargo on September 25 and is reported to be sending some oil to refineries.

"If the current positive reports from Libya are confirmed, then domestic production could reach 1.3 million barrels per day by the end of next year," JP Morgan said in a note.

"On an annual average, this would lead to exports of around 0.6 mbd of light sweet crude, which together with rising Iraqi and non-OPEC output could lift supply by around 1.9 million bpd above today's levels."
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:16 AM   Nav to Top  #37
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Post Kodak denies bankruptcy plan but shares plummet

(Reuters) Eastman Kodak Co shares lost more than half their value on Friday as the company hired a law firm well-known for bankruptcy cases, triggering speculation that the photography pioneer could file for bankruptcy.

Kodak, which delivered the first consumer camera in 1888, denied it had a bankruptcy plan, saying it was committed to meeting its obligations and is still looking for ways to "monetize" its patent portfolio.

Once synonymous with photography, Kodak has struggled with the move to digital cameras and failed to turn a profit since 2007. It has been exploring a sale of its digital imaging patents, worth an estimated $2 billion, and hired investment bank Lazard in July to explore options.

Rochester, New York-based Kodak said it has "no intention of filing for bankruptcy," after its shares plunged as much as 68 percent to 54 cents before recovering slightly to close down 53.8 percent at 78 cents on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company's market value plummeted to roughly $210 million on Friday, down from a lofty height of $31 billion in February 1997, as shown by regulatory filings. The cost to insure Kodak's debt with credit default swaps (CDS) surged on Friday as investors priced in greater bankruptcy risk.

Kodak had already scared markets on Monday when it tapped a credit line but refused to divulge its cash position. The stock dived to a 38-year low that day.

Then investors took fright again Friday after Bloomberg reported that potential buyers for its patent portfolio were cautious about going ahead with a bid as they could risk having Kodak creditors sue them after a bankruptcy filing.

Mark Kaufman, an analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets, said that Kodak urgently needed to seal a patent deal.

"I don't believe bankruptcy is inevitable. This is a pretty valuable portfolio, they should get a good price," he said. "They need to get this (sale) out of the way. They need to sell this portfolio, raise some type of cash."

The company said in July that it hired Lazard to advise on strategic options for its patents -- increasingly seen as lucrative assets. Bankrupt Canadian company Nortel fetched $4.5 billion in a patent sale in June, also run by Lazard. Google Inc agreed in August to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion primarily for its patent portfolio.

One expert -- Robert Miller, a professor at Villanova University School of Law -- said filing for bankruptcy may actually end up boosting the value of a patent sale.

Even if the company holds a robust, public auction outside of bankruptcy, the headache of litigation still looms if Kodak goes bankrupt later, said Miller.

Selling the assets as part of a bankruptcy court-supervised auction would solve that concern, Miller said.

Kodak confirmed that it has hired Jones Day but did not explain why, beyond saying it was "not unusual for a company in transformation to explore all options."

Investors for the company have been up in arms about everything from its share price decline to its management.

One shareholder had asked the company's board on Thursday to start a sales process while others sharply criticized Chief Executive Antonio Perez.

The company's board is not considering replacing Perez at this time, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal, which cited two people familiar with the matter.

Kodak CDS costs rose to 70 percent Friday from 61 percent Thursday, data provider Markit said. That means it would cost $7.0 million in upfront payments, plus $500,000 a year to insure $10 million debt if Kodak debt for five years.

"This is pretty expensive insurance at this point and the reason it's so expensive is that people believe there's a high likelihood of default," said Markit analyst Otis Casey.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:40 PM   Nav to Top  #38
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Post Qatar Holdings to invest $1 billion in European Goldfields

(Reuters) - Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will invest $1 billion in European Goldfields (EGUq.L) (EGU.TO) including $600 million to finance operations in Greece, where the London-based firm has a permit to mine gold, the fund's head said on Saturday.

It was the second major investment in Greece by the Gulf state in two months. Qatar struck a deal in August to provide funding for a merger of two of the recession-hit country's largest banks.

Greece, which is in dire need of private investment as its worst recession in four decades is seen extending into next year, has long sought to convince the wealthy emirate to invest in its private and public companies.

Qatar Holdings will buy a 10 percent stake in European Goldfields from Greek building firm Ellaktor (HELr.AT) and has a call option to buy another 5 percent, CEO Ahmad al-Sayed said after a meeting between Greek and Qatari officials in Athens.

"In total, we will invest in the company about $1 billion," Sayed told reporters.

Sayed also said Qatar was "examining different opportunities in the country."

Greece granted European Goldfields a long-awaited permit in July that allows it to mine for gold in the north of the country, a move set to turn the London-based firm into the European Union's largest primary gold producer.

The European Goldfields deal was announced after Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani met Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Saturday.

"Qatar's investments show trust in the Greek economy," Papandreou told a news conference after the meeting.

Qatar's investment in Greek banks in August will give it about 17 percent of the lender that will be created by the merger of Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT) and Eurobank (EFGr.AT).

Paramount, a company controlled by Qatar, will own the stake after taking part in a 1.25 billion euro rights offer and fully taking up a 500 million euro convertible bond issue.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:25 AM   Nav to Top  #39
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Post Nikkei drops 2.3 percent on European debt fears

(Reuters) - The Nikkei average dropped 2.3 percent on Monday, as fears of slowing global growth and the spreading impact of Europe's credit woes encouraged investors to pull funds out of risk assets.

Bank shares slipped after news that Greece will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package. Government draft budget figures released on Sunday showed that drastic steps taken to avert bankruptcy may not be enough.

"The October-December quarter begins today, so there is hope for domestic fund buying, but right now the market's focus is Greece's problems and how Europeans will address the situation, as well as U.S. data this week that will show us more about the economy," said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management.

The Bank of Japan's tankan survey released before the market open showed business sentiment turned positive in the third quarter as companies restored supply chains hit by the March earthquake, even as a strong yen and the euro zone debt crisis clouded the outlook.

"The results show that the domestic economy is holding up even with the strong yen, and the biggest concerns are external, not internal, such as the impact of Europe's debt problems on global growth," said Yutaka Shiraki, senior strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

The Nikkei markets/index?symbol=jp%21n225">.N225 fell 2.3 percent to 8,503.88 by the midday break. The benchmark gained 1.6 percent last week but lost 2.8 percent for the month and 11.4 percent for the quarter, turning in its worst quarterly performance since June 2010.

The broader Topix index finance/markets/index?symbol=jp%21ixj">.TOPX declined 2.7 percent on Monday to 740.46.

EUROPEAN EXPOSURE

U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) plummeted on Friday on concerns about its exposure to European banks, leading financial shares lower, and that weighed on their counterparts in Japan.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (8306.T) fell 4 percent to 340 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T) slipped 3.9 percent to 2,120 yen.

Major Japanese producers of electric cables and wires extended their slide into Monday, led by Sumitomo Electric (5802.T), which was down 9.7 percent at 828 yen on more than twice its average 30-day volume, after Furukawa Electric (5801.T) agreed on Friday to a $200 million fine to settle investigations into price-fixing in the United States.

Analysts said Sumitomo and Fujikura (5803.T), which are also under investigation by U.S. authorities, risk similar fines. Furukawa declined 6.6 percent to 199 yen while Fujikura was 4.3 percent lower at 246 yen.

Shares of Mitsui OSK Lines (9104.T) slumped to their lowest since March 2003 after the shipping company slashed its first-half earnings outlook to a net loss of 17 billion yen ($221 million) from a profit of 1 billion yen. Rival Kawasaki Kisen (9107.T) fell 4.3 percent and Nippon Yusen (9101.T) dropped 5.2 percent.

Softbank Corp (9984.T) rose 3.3 percent to 2,367 yen and was the heaviest-traded issue by turnover, after Jack Ma, CEO of China's e-commerce leader Alibaba, said he was keen on buying Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O). Softbank owns about 30 percent of Alibaba Group, and holds 42 percent in Yahoo Japan (4689.T), which is owned 35 percent by Yahoo.

Promise Co (8574.T), a Japanese consumer lender, remained untraded as buy orders outnumbered sell offers after the company said on Friday that SMFG would launch a tender offer to buy the outstanding shares of Promise it does not already own for 780 yen each.

Promise shares closed at 659 yen on Friday, 18 percent below the tender offer price. They were bid at 759 yen on Monday.

Aiful (8515.T), a consumer lender affiliated with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, rose 3.5 percent to 117 yen, while Acom (8572.T), a lender which had sought rescheduling of debt repayments, rose 6.5 percent to 1,598 yen.

Volume was moderate, with 790 million shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board, suggesting the daily total could fall short of last Friday's 2 billion shares.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:38 AM   Nav to Top  #40
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Post Euro hits 8-mth low as Greek woes deepen

(Reuters) - The euro sank to an eight-month low against the dollar on Monday and is poised to fall further after the Greek government said the debt-ridden country will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package.

Traders and analysts said that with Europe divided over the best cure for the debt crisis and with the possibility of a Greek default looming larger than ever, the euro was likely to grind lower in the coming days.

"A Greek default is a sort of Pandora box no one wants to open. While some markets seem to have priced in such possibility, it looks like euro has still some way to go should it happen," said Teppei Ino, a currency analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

The euro dived as deep as $1.3323, from $1.3418 in New York on Friday, before nudging back up to $1.3344. The single currency lost 7 percent in September, its largest monthly drop since November 2010.

It also fell to a one-week low against the yen at 102.98, moving a notch closer to a decade low at 101.95 yen.

If Greece defaults on its debt, Ino said he thought the euro could initially fall to $1.32 and would then quickly move toward $1.30.

Underscoring jitters over European financial institutions, reports emerged that ministers from France and Belgium would meet to shore up the balance sheet of troubled financial services group Dexia.

Making matters worse, Germany's finance minister ruled out a higher contribution to the euro zone's rescue fund beyond an already approved 211 billion euros ($281.3 billion), while a key German coalition member of parliament said "Greece is bankrupt."

For now, technical support for the single European currency lies at January lows around $1.3250-80 and then in the $1.3250-00 zone, formed by trend channels, internal wave targets and Fibonacci projection objectives.

This support area combined with the strong resistance on the dollar index at 78.75-90, formed by a cluster of highs and lows on the daily charts, has the capacity to provoke a correction to the euro's decline from $1.4939.

Greece will miss a deficit target despite severe austerity measures, although inspectors from the IMF, EU and European Central Bank --the troika--are widely expected to release the next aid package.

While all eyes will be on the inspectors' forecasts for 2012-2014, Greek bond holders may have to take even larger haircuts, according to some reports. [ID:nL5E7KU270]

Euro zone finance ministers are expected to discuss various plans about Greece and the rescue fund later on Monday.

Dexia, which received a combined 6 billion euro bailout from Belgium and France at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, has been badly hit by its huge exposure to Greece as well as the freeze in the inter-bank lending markets.

EDGING HIGHER

The dollar index hit an eight month high, edging up 0.5 percent to 78.888.

The greenback also gained a little on the yen, adding 0.1 percent to 77.10 yen after breaking above its 55-day moving average at 77.17 for the first time since its spike after intervention on August 4. Stop losses loom around 77.30 yen, traders said.

Although the dollar failed to maintain early gains above 77.17, a close above the mark could improve sentiment toward the pair, especially as seasonal selling before end-Sept book-closings by Japanese exporters has run its course.

Tokyo dealers also reported macro funds building dollar-long positions and analysts said that if the current crisis deepened, this time the yen could weaken versus the dollar, unlike the global financial crisis in 2008.

"Contrary to what happened during the global financial crisis in 2008, this time the yen carry trade has not been as active," said Junya Tanase, chief strategist at JPMorgan Chase in Tokyo, adding that the dollar may strengthen to 78-79 yen over the next two weeks, although other yen crosses were likely to soften.

PMI numbers from China and the export numbers from Korea suggest global demand has not eased as quickly as some investors had feared in recent weeks, but this failed to make much of an impact on financial markets.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were off to a rocky start on Monday with the Aussie at $0.9665.

European manufacturing PMI will be released on Monday and another deterioration below the key 50 level could see the euro sink further. It is also a big week for U.S. data with ISM Manufacturing on Monday and non-farm payrolls on Friday.
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