Japanese Banking Shares Surge

In Asia Wednesday, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.9% to 10,177. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank 0.9%, ending the day at 21,612 and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to close at 3,255.

Japanese banks soared after a report that global regulators will give lenders 10 years or more to comply with new capital adequacy rules. On this news, shares in Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, both of which have been maintaining low capital ratios, took off. Mizuho (MFG) rocketed up 15% and Sumitomo (SMFJY) surged 14%. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU) rose 4.9%. But according to Bloomberg, the optimistic report, which was issued in the Nikkei newspaper, may be unfounded as officials say discussions are still ongoing. A delay in the enforcement of new regulations may rescue banks from having to sell shares to meet the new guidelines.

In China, mining companies were among the biggest losers. Baoshan Iron & Steel plunged 2.3% and Jiangxi Copper (JIXAY) was down 1.4%. Aluminum Corp of China (ACH), otherwise known as Chalco, dropped 1.9%. Losses tracked a 0.3% retreat in the London Metals Index.

In Hong Kong, banking shares dragged the Hang Seng lower. China Construction Bank (CICHF) lost 2.1%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (IDCBY) fell 1.2% and Bank of China (BACHY) dropped 1.4%. HSBC (HBC), the most heavily weighted stock on the Index, fell 0.7% and Standard Chartered (SCBFF) slid 1.5% -- both banks are feeling the impact of developments in the Dubai crisis as they are major lenders to the region.

Hong Kong-listed property companies with investments on the mainland continued to slide today after this week's announcement from Beijing that property taxes on the sale of homes owned for more than five years will be reinstated. China Overseas Land (CAOVF) fell 1.7% and Shimao Property (SIOPF) dropped 3.9%.

On the brighter side, Perception Digital Holdings launched a successful IPO today, rallying 106% in Hong Kong. The company was created by three entrepreneurial Hong Kong University technology professors and makes electronic fitness products like pedometers that include multimedia functions, mobile phones, portable televisions and other cool entertainment products -- showing that innovation is alive and well in Asia.
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