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Fretting over savings, Mrs Watanabe turns to bitcoin

June 2, 2017 By Minami Funakoshi and Joyce Lee TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Long the preserve of geeky enthusiasts, bitcoin is going mainstream in Asia, attracting Mrs Watanabe – the metaphorical Japanese housewife investor – South Korean retirees and thousands of others trying to escape rock-bottom savings rates by investing in the cryptocurrency. Asia’s moms and pops, already regular investors in stock and futures markets, have been dazzled by bitcoin’s 100 percent surge so far this year. In comparison, the broader Asian stocks benchmark has gained 17 percent over the same…

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Asia stocks firm as upbeat U.S., European data boosts confidence

June 2, 2017 By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks edged up on Friday and the dollar bounced from recent lows as upbeat data on U.S. manufacturing and employment and buoyant European factory growth boosted investor optimism. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei gained 1 percent to top the psychologically important 20,000-point level for the first time since August 2015. “Market sentiment is very good. The strength in Wall Street shares will be a tailwind for the Nikkei as well,”…

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OPEC disappointment hits oil, stocks; sterling down on UK vote jitters

May 26, 2017 By Nichola Saminather SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Crude prices were on the defensive on Friday after an agreement by OPEC to extend existing supply curbs disappointed investors wagering on larger cuts, prompting a move away from riskier assets and depressing Asian stocks. Sterling continued its decline after a poll showing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s lead narrowing less than two weeks before the election came on the heels of disappointing economic data on Thursday. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers agreed at a meeting…

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Samsung Electronics to set up fund to help suppliers amid Moon’s reform push

May 26, 2017 SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it would set up a 500 billion won ($445 million) fund to help small suppliers, the highest-profile South Korean firm to unveil steps in the wake of new President Moon Jae-in’s call to protect small businesses. Moon came to power this month promising to rein in the family-owned conglomerates that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Calling himself the ‘jobs president’, he has also said he wants to discourage contract jobs, raise the minimum wage and reduce working hours. Samsung Electronics…

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Party’s over as Korean rapper Psy shelves ‘Gangnam Style’ and returns to roots

May 23, 2017 By Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean rapper Psy has gone back to basics with his eighth full-length album, paying greater attention to his home fans while doing what he loves most – “going crazy” on stage. The “Gangnam Style” star said he had moved on from on the success of the 2012 smash hit that sent him flying to the top of music charts around the world and shaped him into the internationally recognized artist he is today. “‘Gangnam Style’ gave me fame while as…

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Oil heads for second week of gains as output cut extension expected

May 19, 2017 By Stephen Eisenhammer LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices were heading on Friday for a second week of gains on growing expectations that big crude exporters will extend output cuts to curb a persistent glut in inventories. Brent crude was up 65 cents at $53.16 at 1138 GMT (7.38 a.m. ET), after climbing to $53.20, its highest since April 21. U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 61 cents at $49.96 a barrel having touched $50.00 earlier in the session. Since the start of March, the Brent price has…

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Asia stocks mixed, dollar surrenders some gains as investors remain cautious

May 19, 2017 By Nichola Saminather SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asian stocks were mixed on Friday, while the dollar surrendered some of the overnight gains it made on strong economic data amid ongoing political turbulence around U.S. President Donald Trump. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.1 percent, on track for a weekly loss of 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei reversed early gains to trade 0.15 percent lower, extending declines for the week to 1.8 percent for the week. Chinese shares added 0.1 percent, up 0.4 percent for the…

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Oil prices climb on hopes output cuts will be extended

May 19, 2017 TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil futures rose in early trading on Friday on growing optimism that big producing countries will extend output cuts to curb a persistent glut in crude, with key benchmarks heading for a second week of gains. Brent crude was up 12 cents at $52.63 at 0006 GMT, after settling up half a percent on Thursday. The contract is on track for a 3.5-percent climb this week, a second week of gains. U.S. crude oil was up 14 cents at $49.49 a barrel, after finishing…

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Ford to cut 1,400 white-collar jobs, shares tumble

May 17, 2017 By David Shepardson NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it plans to cut 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives as the No. 2 U.S. automaker looks to boost its sagging stock price. Ford shares fell as much as 2.5 percent in heavy trading and were headed to their worst close since November 2012 as the broader markets tumbled over the political turmoil in Washington. The buyout offers were a fraction of the 20,000…

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Ford to cut 1,400 white-collar jobs in North America, Asia

May 17, 2017 By David Shepardson (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it plans to cut 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives as the No. 2 U.S. automaker looks to boost its sagging stock price. Ford shares fell 1.1 percent to $10.82 a 52-week intraday low, in early trading. The buyout offers were a fraction of the 20,000 job cuts that some news outlets had reported Ford could announce this week. Ford said the cuts would amount to…

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