China property stocks tumble, Hong Kong's Foxconn surges on iPhone 4G rumor

In Asia today Japan's Nikkei 225 Index gained 2.5% to 10,108 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.9% to 21,902. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,247 -- down 0.2%.

In China, property developers stocks fell on worries that the government will increase interest rates and tighten lending policies. The country's largest real estate companies suffered losses with both China Vanke (CVKEF) and Poly Real Estate sliding 1%. Gemdale, which builds residential tower buildings in cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Xi'an sank 0.8%. The company has also undertaken projects to develop entire European-style communities with names like Gemdale Green Town, which it describes as having "international-standard German-style buildings and beautiful landscape," situated in a resort area.

China's biggest car manufacturer lost 1.5% and Beiqi Foton Motor fell 1.8%, as investors wonder if a rise in the tax paid on new car purchases will affect sales. The number of cars sold in China has surged over the past year leading many to predict that China will surpass the U.S. as the world's biggest car market. Meanwhile, Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile, which specializes in small cars, rose 1.3%.

In Hong Kong, shares rebounded from a short losing streak. Foxconn International (FXCNY), which makes mobile phones and is fabled to have been tapped to create Apple's version of the e-reader, is now rumored to have won a contract to make the iPhone 4G, according to Jason D. O'Grady's Apple Core blog. The company's stock surged 2.1%. Other retail-based stocks also rose: Esprit Holdings (ESHDF), which has clothing outlets all over the world, soared 2.7% and Li & Fung (LFUGY), maker of clothing and toys sold through Wal-Mart and Target, gained 0.5%.

Most mining companies climbed today with Maanshan Iron & Steel (MAANF) hitting its 10% daily maximum and Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel adding 2.6%. Gold gained value again today and in Hong Kong Real Gold Mining rose 3% and Zhaojin Mining (ZHAOF) surged 4.5%.

In Japan, reports that the U.S. jobless rate declined was good news for companies reliant on exports. Nissan (NSANY) leaped 3.9% and both Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM) rose 2.7%. Sony (SNE) scored a 3.4% increase.

Meanwhile, Seven & I (SVNDY), owner of 7-Eleven, announced plans for a massive promotion beginning today. They are offering 30% cash back to customers on purchases made in the next three days, and Bloomberg reports that Japanese supermarket operator Aeon (AEOH) is beginning a huge sale, waging battle against sales that have been in free-fall for 11 months straight. Seven & I stock dropped 0.6% today and Aeon rose 1.4%.

But as unemployment and salary cuts become the norm in Japan, even the biggest sale may not put people in the shopping mood.

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