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Asian Stocks Rebound as Wall Street Gains Some Lost Ground 

  • Phil Mercer

It has been a good day for most Asian stock markets after Wall Street extended recent gains, although Japanese shares struggled amid problems for leading carmaker Toyota. In a further sign of jitters, the world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton has blamed the global financial crisis for its decision to pull out of a hostile US $65-billion bid for rival Rio Tinto. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports for VOA.

Throughout Asia, there are signs that confidence is starting to return to the markets as investors were heartened by the performance on Wall Street.

Analysts have said that government measures to stimulate the U.S. economy have had a positive effect.

Hong Kong's main Hang Seng index and South Korea's Kospi were both up in trading Wednesday, while markets in Singapore, mainland China, Taiwan and the Philippines also gained.

Thai stocks fell amid domestic political uncertainty that has seen protesters descend on the country's main international airport in efforts to bring down the government.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei index fell by 1 per cent on fears that a global downturn will hurt the profits of major carmaker Toyota.

There was a similar fall too on Australian markets, as they digested news that Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has abandoned multi-billion dollar plans to buy its smaller rival Rio Tinto. The company said that the global economic slump and falling commodity prices were behind the decision and that a takeover was no longer in the best interests of shareholders.

Mining expert Gavin Wendt says the international credit crisis has forced BHP to ditch its plans.

"We're really in uncharted waters. Although the bid's been going now for more than 12 months, I think it was the last couple of months, credit market meltdown. Of course, it's
very, very difficult to raise financing in this sort of market. Rio Tinto is a company with a lot of debt on board and BHP would have had to finance that. So, I think it was probably the final nail in the coffin," said Wendt.

Analysts say that BHP's interest in Rio Tinto could be revived when and prices and demand for Australian iron ore recover.

That will only occur when a slowdown in the Chinese economy is reversed. Market watchers say that is likely to happen within 18 months.





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