Japan Airlines Spikes 31% and Chinese Car Companies Soar -- Including Buffett's BYD

In Asia Monday, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 1% to 10,655. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closed 0.2% lower, ending the day at 21,823, and in China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1% to 3,244.In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose to a 15-month closing high, but still rests at only about a quarter of where it stood 20 years ago. Japan Airlines was today's biggest winner, surging an unprecedented 31% on news that Development Bank of Japan will double its credit line to $2.2 billion. Development Bank of Japan is a state-run enterprise, equating the lifeline to a government bailout -- but it's not clear if this will be enough to save the beleaguered airline that has lost 63.2 billion yen ($680 million) in the past fiscal year.

%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Japan Airlines is reportedly considering cutting ties with American Airlines to partner with Delta. Flightglobal.com reports that Delta and other unnamed partners have offered to invest in the Japanese carrier in order to entice it to join the Sky Team alliance.

Japanese game console companies were on the rise today with Nintendo gaining 2.6% and Playstation 3 maker Sony gaining 2.3%. Automakers climbed higher with Honda rising 1.9% and Mazda adding 1.4%.

In China the Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 56.6, its biggest hike in 20 months. The index shows that employment and new orders are growing extremely quickly, however, an increase in prices is sparking fears that inflation may be the next big hurdle.

Major Chinese car manufacturer SAIC Motor soared 3.2%. SAIC has joined forces with General Motors and formed Shanghai General Motors, which sold 727,620 cars last year, according to Bloomberg. This amounts to an annual increase of 63% as compared to the 42% jump in Chinese vehicle sales overall -- which many attribute to government incentive programs. In contrast, Tianjin Faw Xiali Automobile plunged 2% today.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Geely Automobile (GELYY) rose 2.3% and BYD Co (BYDDY), the car company part owned by Warren Buffett gained 2%. According to the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report, BYD may re-launch it's "green" cars in China in the first few months of 2010.

In Hong Kong, real estate company Shimao Property plunged 3.7%, KWG Property, developer of residential and commercial properties in Southern China dropped 3% and China Resources Land fell 1.1%. Meanwhile, Hang Lung added 1.5% and Henderson Land, which reportedly sold the most expensive luxury property by square foot in 2009 closed up 0.3%.

Thanks to a boost from analysts, Hong Kong-listed casino operator Sands China surged 5.2%, heralding a new year of gambling in Macau and high hopes that the Asian stock markets will continue to rise in the new decade.
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