Chinese drugmakers soar as Obama declares swine flu a national emergency

Japan's Nikkei Index added 0.8 percent Monday, ending the day at 10,363, and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to close at 3,110. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange was closed today in celebration of the Chung Yeung Festival as locals headed to the hills to pay respect to their ancestors.

Shares in Chinese drugmakers surged as Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency in the U.S., and today's China Daily warned that Mainland China should expect the number and severity of cases to balloon as the weather begins to cool. Both Shenzhen Neptunnus Bioengineering Co. and Hualan Biological Engineering Inc. reached their 10 percent daily limit and China National Medicines Corporation leaped 6.8 percent.

Also in China, Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. (YZC) surged 3.3 percent after plans to buy Australian mining company Felix Resources Ltd. (FLRFF) won approval from the Australian government. The Chinese stock rose despite an announcement that it expected a drop of more than 50 percent in its annual profit due to the worldwide recession. Steel prices have sunk this year and many are predicting other steel companies will follow. But today, Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. gained 0.4 percent today, and Maanshan Iron & Steel (MAANF) inched up 0.4 percent.

In Japan, Freight transporter Nippon Express Co. (NPEXF) was the Nikkei's biggest gainer, surging 15 percent on news that it plans to sell a portion of its stake in unprofitable JP Express – a positive move in the eyes of several brokerages, which boosted the company's rating. The index's biggest loser was Engineering company Chiyoda Corp (CHYCF), which cut its operating profit forecast by 87 percent, sending its shares tumbling 12.6 percent.

Japanese shares of train and infrastructure companies rose after a story in the Nikkei newspaper said trainmakers will cash in on new licensing fees and equipment orders, according to Bloomberg. Trainmaker Nippon Sharyo Ltd. soared 5.6 percent and Toyo Electric Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TDEKF), which makes electrical equipment for train companies, climbed 4.9 percent. Transport equipment maker Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KWHIY) added 4.3 percent.

Car assembly company, Toyota Industries Corp. (TYIDY), a member of the Toyota Motor Group, rocketed 6.8 percent after posting higher than expected profits, most certainly aided by government stimulus programs blostering the demand for cars. Another Toyota affiliate, JTekt Corp. (JTEKF), which makes electronic equipment for cars, rose 3.4 percent.

As a group, Japanese carmakers added value today; Honda Motor Co. (HMC) climbed 3.4 percent, Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) gained 2.7 percent, Mazda Motor Corp. (MZDAF) rose 2.4 percent, Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) increased 1.7 percent and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMTOF) was up 1.5 percent. As countries around the world steadily climb out of recession, Asian carmakers seem to be shifting into higher gear.
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