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Thu, Jan 05, 2006 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Finance
Chinese investment mooted

Japan's Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is considering taking a stake in a Chinese lender, a spokesman said yesterday amid reports the group is in talks with the Bank of China. "We've been examining the possibility of capital participation in a bank based in China but nothing concrete has yet been decided on the issue," said the spokesman for the recently formed bank, now the world's largest. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ officially opened for business yesterday after a three-month delay caused by difficulties integrating computer systems.

■ Stocks

Former broker indicted

A former stockbroker made nearly US$23,000 on a pending acquisition by a Silicon Valley company after using insider knowledge he learned from his girlfriend, an attorney involved in the deal, prosecutors said. Lee Edelman, 34, was indicted on Tuesday on securities fraud charges after his girlfriend, an associate at a large Manhattan law firm, told him in March 2004 that Applied Materials Inc was in talks to acquire Metron Technology NV. Metron's share price almost doubled on Aug. 16, 2004, when the deal was announced. Edelman, of New York, quickly sold his shares, making US$22,786, according to the indictment in US District Court in Manhattan. He faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

■ Electronics

Nintendo DS selling well

Nintendo Co said that it has sold about 10 million of its Nintendo DS handheld game systems worldwide, including about 4 million in North America and more than 5 million in Japan. Perrin Kaplan, vice president for marketing at Nintendo's US headquarters in Redmond, said on Tuesday the company sold about 3 million of the handheld gaming gadgets to North American consumers last year. That's on top of 1.2 million sold to North American consumers in 2004, following the system's late November launch. Rival Sony Corp said it has sold 3.2 million of its handheld game system, the PlayStation Portable, in North America between its March launch and last month. The company did not yet have sales figures through the end of last year. Nintendo also said on Tuesday that it sold 4.6 million of its other popular handheld gaming system, the Game Boy Advance, to North American consumers last year.

■ Automobiles

Hybrid boom predicted

Auto executives worldwide believe sales of hybrid cars and low-cost, fuel efficient models will outpace sport utility vehicles, pickups and luxury models over the next five years because of lingering concerns about fuel prices, according to an annual survey released yesterday. Eighty-eight percent of the executives said they expect gas-electric hybrids to gain market share, up from 74 percent in 2004. Seventy-nine percent said they expect low-cost cars to gain share. Just 35 percent expect the luxury market to grow -- compared to 48 percent two years ago -- while 36 percent expect SUVs will gain market share. The survey, by the auditing and consulting firm KPMG LLP, collected responses from 140 senior executives at 35 vehicle manufacturers and 105 suppliers. More than three-quarters of executives predict South Korean and Chinese brands will see the largest global share increases in the next five years, with Japanese and Indian brands behind.

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