Global buyers more bullish
Global investors tend to be more bullish on Asia than their counterparts within the region, a research house said in a report yesterday. Morgan Stanley cited a dichotomy in the prognosis for Asia held by European and US investors compared with "fully invested bears" in the region. European and US investors seemed more willing to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" than their Asian counterparts, it said in a strategy note published in The Business Times. "Even now, with macro data characterized as positive by bulls in the region, regionally focused clients still appear to be reluctant to believe the recent rallies are sustain-able," Morgan Stanley said. "Optimistic earnings expec-tations are the key concern cited by many in the face of uncertain demand pros-pects," it added. In contrast, global investors remain bullish on emerging mar-kets, particularly in Asia, and believe the region should outperform in the absence of a severe global downturn.
New partner for components
Texas Instruments Inc, the world's biggest maker of chips used to power mobile phones, and Sharp Corp, Japan's largest maker of flat screens, will partner to jointly develop components for cellular phones. Through the alliance, Osaka-based Sharp and Dallas-based Texas Instruments will develop a component sys-tem in a bid to reduce the design time and resources to make new camera-equipped cellular phones, the companies said in a news release. The system, which will be made avail-able to cellphone makers using the Global System for Mobile communications standard used in Europe and Asia, will combine Sharp's flash memory, screens and chips with Texas Instruments' processors.
■ US exports
Congress ponders tax laws
US lawmakers, pushed by companies such as Boeing Co, Microsoft Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp, are scrambling to rewrite tax laws to promote US exports while also trying to accom-modate a WTO ruling, the Washington Post said on Sunday. The WTO's ruling in May said a long-standing US$5 billion annual tax break for US exporters was an unfair subsidy. The EU threatened to impose a US$4 billion annual penalty on the US for the tax benefit, the paper said. Congress is divided on the best approach to rewrite the law. One bill would use the US$5 billion tax benefit to subsidize domestic manu-facturers, the Post said, while the other would simplify and expand tax breaks for US companies operating overseas.
Old spirits set new high
Ninety-three kilograms of spirits made in 1845 during the Qing Dynasty have been auctioned for 5.58 million yuan (US$674,728), state press reported yesterday. The price reached 64,000 yuan per kilogram -- a new record in China's liquor-selling history, said Zhang Guangxin, chairman of the Lingchuan Daoguang Liquor Co Ltd. The company unearthed the booze in June 1996 when dismantling old workshops in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province, the Xinhua news agency said. Though buried for 151 years, the yellowish liquid is still potable and fragrant and has been included in the Guinness Book of Records as the "world's oldest cellar-stored white spirit." It was not known who bought the alcohol nor what they intend doing with it.