The main stock exchanges in Japan and Vietnam have agreed to cooperate and Japan's Sony has announced a record increase in second-quarter profit. Claudia Blume at VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong has more on these and other business stories from the region.

Japan's Tokyo Stock Exchange has signed a cooperation deal with Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. Under the agreement, the Japanese bourse will share information with the Vietnamese stock exchange and consider offering technical assistance.

The two stock exchanges will also start discussing listing shares on each other's exchanges. Vietnam's stock exchange has performed extremely well since it opened seven years ago. In 2006, the country's main index went up 144 percent.

Japan's Sony Corporation posted second quarter net profits of $645 million, a more than 40-fold increase from the same period a year earlier.

The dramatic increase was mainly because last year, Sony had to cover the cost of recalling millions of faulty laptop batteries. Chief financial officer Nobuyuki Oneda says Sony's electronics division contributed to the positive results in the three months until September.

"By product, LCD televisions reached higher sales in all regions; Vaio PCs, which had favorable sales outside of Japan and Cyber-shot digital cameras, which had favorable sales in all regions contributed to the sales increase," he said.

U.S. retailer Wal-Mart says it will spend close to $900 million to buy the remaining shares of its struggling Japanese unit, Seiyu. Wal-Mart now owns a controlling 50-percent stake in the retail chain.

Seiyu has posted losses for five consecutive years. Wal-Mart officers say they hope full ownership of the Japanese retailer will reverse the losses.

Hong Kong-listed property and financial investment firm New Times Group Holdings says it plans to buy two oil fields in Argentina for $1.3 billion. The two locations in Argentina's Salta Province are estimated to have oil reserves of 810 million tons.

And U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley says it will buy a 35 percent stake in Chinese fund manager Jutian. The deal is worth $8.6 million. Morgan Stanley will buy the stake in the Shenzhen-based fund manager from CITIC Guoan Information Industry, a telecom technology company.