Chinese vaccine makers surge as swine flu cases soar

Asian stocks rose Tuesday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index added 0.3%, ending the day at 22,268. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 3,179 and in Japan, the Nikkei Index closed up 0.6% at 9,871.

Shares in Chinese drug companies soared as the number of reported swine flu cases swelled to nearly 60,000, and the death toll rose to 30. So far 8.7 million Chinese have been vaccinated, according to Agence France Presse, and China's Ministry of Health has ordered that vaccine makers step up production in order to vaccinate even more of the country's enormous population. Henan Taloph Pharmaceutical jumped to its 10% daily limit, Shenzhen Neptunus Bioengineering climbed 6.17% and Hualan Biological Engineering rose 2.0%.
Chinese property shares spiked today, with Poly Real Estate Group soaring 2.9% after saying property sales had risen 155% so far this year. Gemdale Corp. posted a 2.1% gain for the day, claiming its sales had increased 84% this year.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese carmakers surged today, after a report said that October car sales in China soared 76% in October as compared to a year ago. Qingling Motors, which makes Isuzu trucks, rocketed up 32% and Brilliance China Automotive (BCAHY) climbed 15%. Geely Automobile (GELYF), which has made a $2 billion bid to buy Volvo from Ford, soared 7.6%.

China Strategic Holdings (CSGGF), a battery maker and property investor shot up 78% in Hong Kong today, announcing firm plans to finance the purchase of Nan Shan Life Insurance. The company, which is controlled by several Hong Kong tycoons, also appointed an ex-Hong Kong government official to run the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In Tokyo, banking shares rose with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFJY) climbing 3.6% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), gaining 2.7%.

Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) shares rose 4.4% as the company predicts it will make money on currency gains. It also reported an increase in market share for its Camel and Winston brands. Despite a decline in the number of overseas smokers, in Japan smoking is still ubiquitous. It is estimated that nearly 50% of Japanese men smoke and non-smoking areas are hard to come by, even in family-oriented restaurants. In these stressful times, perhaps those who smoke, are just smoking more.
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