Asian Shares Rise, Mitsubishi Gains on High Hopes for Electric Car

Shares in Asia closed mostly higher Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.7%, closing at 10,982 and in China the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% ending the day at 3,224. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 0.3%, falling to 21,654.

Carmakers rose today with Mitsubishi Motors taking the lead with a 7.5% gain. The company has announced plans to make more of its new, highly-touted i-MiEV electric cars. Extremely limited numbers of the cute, all-electric cars became available in July, and they are now slated to go into mass production in 2012, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, Gordon Hard of Consumer Reports wrote, "Within limits, the i-MIEV is brilliant. The packaging is amazing in that for such a tiny footprint it can fit four adults with ease, even if they happen to be 6-foot professional basketball players." Best suited for urbanites, the car sells for about $50,000 in Japan and is expected to fetch around $30,000 when it becomes available in the U.S. Other car companies also rose today with Toyota Motor gaining 1.6% and Honda rising 1.5%.

Cosmetics company Shiseido leaped 5.1% today and retailers also rose with Takashimaya gaining 5.9%. Fast Retailing, the owner of success-story Uniqlo rose 2.9%. Stores in London have been swamped with shoppers lined up to cash in on sales on brightly colored clothing including thermal long underwear -- a must have item as temperatures sank to record lows this week.

Banking shares closed higher in Japan with Resona Holdings surging 9%, Sumitomo Mitsui climbing 5.2%. Mitsubishi UFJ advanced 3.5% and Mizuho Financial Group added 3.8%.

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines plunged 12.5% in today's trading, losing value day by day as it heads toward bankruptcy. Creditors including Development Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank, UFJ Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui may be asked to waive loans provided to the airline to the tune of 358.5 billion yen, according to Bloomberg, and investors will lose as well.

In China, Dalian Dayang Trands, the Chinese suitmaker highly recommended by Warren Buffett and tailor to Bill Gates shot up 10% today.

Chinese Carmakers surged with the country's largest car company, SAIC Motor rising 1.5% in today's trading, Chongqing Changan rose 3.4% and DongFeng Automobile added 1.8%.

Chinese developers also rose today with Wolong Real Estate Group Co. climbing to its 10% daily limit. Poly Real Estate and China Vanke both added more than 1%

Hong Kong-listed, New World Department Store China announced it will open about six outlets in China this year, its stock gained 2.3%. Bloomberg reports that retail sales in China grew at the fastest pace in more than 20 years during 2009, so hopefully New World is not too late to cash in on that trend.
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