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Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Stocks

Citigroup says buy Asian

Stocks in Japan and the rest of Asia are undervalued and global investors should buy shares of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, according to Citigroup Inc. Stocks in Japan and Asia excluding Japan are "very cheap" and underpriced by 39 percent and 38 percent on a price-to-book basis, Ajay Kapur, New York-based head of global strategy at Citigroup, wrote in a note to clients dated Monday. Japanese shares are the cheapest among global stocks, according to Kapur. Shares trade at an average of 1.77 times book value, below the "fair value" of 2.91, based on the firm's estimates. Japanese stocks in 17 of 24 industry groups, including telecommunications, banks and software are considered a "buy." In the rest of Asia, 12 of 24 industry groups, such as consumer durables, technology hardware and travel and leisure, are rated ``buy,'' according to the firm.

■ Fraud

Card cancellations urged

South African police are warning those who have used their credit cards with online auction house eBay to cancel them as a precaution, media in South Africa reported yesterday. Police issued the warning after it was discovered that members of a Nigerian syndicate had arrived in Germany in possession of eBay databases. An informant handed parts of the of the databases over to the authorities. They contained more than 100,000 credit card numbers as well as personal information on individuals, This Day newspaper reported. South Africa has not confirmed the number of people affected. The newspaper quoted Inspector Rian Visser as saying that "Not all the databases were recovered though, and we are asking other South Africans to cancel their cards if they dealt with eBay."

■ Technology

Tunes for mobile phones

Music listeners will soon be able to transfer songs they buy from Apple Computer Inc's iTunes music store to Motorola Inc mobile phones. The companies announced plans late Monday for Apple to create a new iTunes mobile music player that can transfer songs to Motorola mass market mobile phones. Customers of iTunes can buy and share individual songs from a set list. The new service will enable users to transfer songs from their computers to Motorola mobile handsets with a USB port or Bluetooth wireless connection. The service is expected to become available in the first half of next year.

■ Airlines

Jetstar aims for 10% share

Jetstar, the discount carrier started by Qantas Airways Ltd, is unlikely to win back market share grabbed by Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd during the past four years, the unit's CEO Alan Joyce said. Qantas, Australia's largest airline, started Jetstar in May to rival Virgin Blue, which has expanded its fleet by 40 percent in the past year and taken about 30 percent of the domestic air-travel market. ``We think market share will stay fairly similar to the way it is today, with the Qantas group maintaining a 65 percent share, which is the line in the sand'' that Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon set, Joyce said in an interview. The discount airline is aiming to have 10 percent of the market by the end of the year, Joyce said. Qantas and Jetstar will add planes during the next two years and will probably match Virgin Blue's rate of expansion, he said.

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