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Japan's Economy Shrinks More Than Expected

Rising yen, falling international demand, led to 2.3% contraction

(Newser) - Economists were expecting the Japanese economy to contract in the last quarter of 2011, but not this badly, reports the BBC . Japan's gross domestic product shrunk 2.3% in the last three months of the year, much worse than the 1.4% economists were predicting, due to the yen... More »

Japan, China Cut Currency Deal, Shun Dollar

Leaders also discuss North Korea

(Newser) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing today, and emerged with a number of deals—including one that will marginalize the US dollar in Asia. The countries agreed to promote direct yuan-yen trades, the Wall Street Journal reports; until now, the money has usually... More »

Japan Jumps Into Currency Market to Weaken Yen

Investors cheer, but analysts worry

(Newser) - Japan has taken the extraordinary step of intervening in the currency market in an effort to drag down the soaring yen. Japanese monetary authorities bought dollars and sold trillions of yen, driving the yen down from 84.5 yen to the dollar to 82, the New York Times reports. Their... More »

Panasonic Cuts 15,000 Jobs

Company cuts 15,000 jobs, closes 27 plants as it restructures

(Newser) - A strong yen and softening consumer demand is prompting Panasonic to cut 15,000 jobs, close 27 plants, and restructure as it struggles to withstand burgeoning losses, reports the Wall Street Journal. The electronics company last quarter posted a $707.2 million net loss, and experts expect the downward trend... More »

Sony's Profit Off 95% in Q4

Company blames slow economy, strong yen for 25% sales slump across the board

(Newser) - Slumping demand, a strong yen, and increased competition knocked Sony’s third-quarter profits off 95% from a year ago, reports CNN. Sony reported profits of $110 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $2.2 billion a year ago. Sony’s gaming segment was hit especially hard, with... More »

Sony Swings to First Annual Loss in 14 Years

Global downturn, strong yen reverse earlier expectations

(Newser) - Sony announced today that it would go down to its first annual loss in 14 years, after having forecast just months ago that it would turn a profit. The Japanese electronics giant said it expected to lose $1.7 billion, the result of declining demand from the global recession. The... More »

Mighty Toyota Posts Its First Loss Ever

Even Prius can't overcome flagging demand, soaring yen

(Newser) - Toyota will post a loss for the first time in its history, the victim of plummeting sales and multi-year highs in the value of the yen, the company warned today. The Japanese automaker, which has enjoyed a reputation for profits even in bad times, announced that it would suspend executive... More »

Sony Slashes 8,000 Jobs

(Newser) - Sony is slashing 8,000 jobs, or 4%of its global work force, aiming to cut costs by $1.1 billion a year as a global downturn and stronger yen batters profits at the Japanese electronics maker. Sony, which has 185,000 employees worldwide, said today it will complete the layoffs... More »

Rate Cut Sparks Global Market Rally

Investors pour back into markets looking for bargains with cheap money

(Newser) - World markets rode the back of yesterday’s Fed rate cut to huge gains as investors began looking for bargains and flooded the exchanges with cash, reports the Guardian. Hong Kong was up 12.8%, Seoul rose 11.95%, and Tokyo saw a jump of 9.6%, its fourth largest... More »

Sony Profits Plunge 72% on Strong Yen, Slow Exports

Japanese Electronics maker sees profits tumble 72% for quarter

(Newser) - A strengthening yen and declining demand—especially from the US—for consumer electronics provided a one-two punch that knocked Sony profits down 72% for the third quarter, reports the New York Times. Sony shares slid to a 16-year low on Monday, and are down 67% for the year. More »

As Investors Seek Cover, Central Banks Slash Rates

Seeking to loosen credit, central banks plan another round of cuts

(Newser) - Central banks worldwide are slashing interest rates, attempting to stem the bleeding in financial markets as investors dump holdings, credit remains tight, and currencies spasm in value, the Washington Post reports. The Federal Reserve is set to cut rates for the second time in as many weeks tomorrow, while the... More »

World Markets Tumble, Dollar Hits New Low

Euro hits $1.60 as banks lead declines

(Newser) - World stocks hit their lowest level since 2006 today as credit-market losses and weakening consumer confidence sent shares falling, reports Bloomberg. The big banks, from UBS in Europe to Cathay in Asia, led declines. The MSCI World Index, Morgan Stanley's indicator of global finance, has now slid into bear market... More »

Dollar Soars to Biggest Weekly Gain in 3 Years

Greenback posts record advances ahead of G8 meeting

(Newser) - The dollar posted its biggest gain in almost 3 years this week, soaring 2.5% against the euro and 2.8% against the yen. This morning in London the dollar was trading at $1.54 against the euro, with analysts predicting a rise as high as $1.45 by year's... More »

Japanese Melon Sells for $6K

Black delicacy is the first of the season

(Newser) - A rare black watermelon, one of 65 from Japan's first harvest of the year, sold for more than $6,000 at auction today, the AP reports. The Densuke melon has the distinction of being the most expensive of its kind in Japan, and probably the world, though the Guinness World... More »

US Woes Drive Toyota Profits Down 28%

World's No. 2 automaker sees tough year ahead

(Newser) - Even Toyota—with its array of popular gas-sipping vehicles—is struggling in a slumping global economy, according to the latest figures. The world’s No. 2 automaker today reported that earnings for the last quarter fell 28% to $3.05 billion from $4.2 billion a year ago, reports the... More »

Dollar Rallies at Last

Greenback posts biggest advance since March as eurozone sputters

(Newser) - The dollar rose to a three-week high against the euro today and looked set to post its biggest weekly advance since March. The dollar advanced to $1.55 per euro this morning in London, after falling below the $1.60 barrier on Tuesday. The dollar also gained against the yen,... More »

Asian Markets Surge As Dollar Comes Back

Greenback back above 100 yen; best day in a month in Tokyo

(Newser) - Stocks in Asia had their best day in a month as investors reacted to the Fed's 75-point rate cut and a top Chinese company announced higher-than-expected earnings. The Nikkei climbed 2.5%, with financial stocks leading gains, reports Bloomberg. Companies with substantial business in America also did well—Canon jumped... More »

Stocks Bounce, End Mixed

Stocks are up... no down... what's going on?!

(Newser) - Stocks seesawed throughout the day, finally ending today's session mixed, with the Dow closing up. The markets struggled to rebound from serious losses sustained after Bear Stearns' fire sale; buyer JPMorgan Chase's stock closed up 11%. The Dow ended up 21.16 at 11,972.25, the Nasdaq down 35.... More »

Dollar Nosedives, Global Markets Tumble

Greenback falls to record lows after Bear buyout, rate cut

(Newser) - The dollar took a pummeling and equity markets in Europe and Asia slumped as worried investors reacted to the Bear Stearns fire sale and the Fed's emergency rate cut. The dollar dropped to a shocking 95 yen, hit an all-time low of $1.59 against the euro, and remained below... More »

Dollar Makes Comeback as Banks Predict Intervention

Greenback back above 100 yen, gains on euro

(Newser) - The dollar made a recovery today after yesterday's disastrous fall, pulling back above 100 yen and gaining against the euro and the pound. The greenback's advance comes as securities firms speculated that the Fed and other central banks will collaborate to safeguard the dollar for the first time in 13... More »

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