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By Shinichi Saoshiro TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks sagged and the dollar stood tall on Wednesday on growing prospects the Federal Reserve was on track to raise interest rates later this year and concerns that financial woes could engulf Spain in addition to Greece. "Spanish equities fell and bond yields rose as the regional and municipal elections delivered a highly fragmented verdict," they said.
By Malathi Nayak and Diane Bartz NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Charter Communications Inc, seeking to remake the U.S. cable television industry by acquiring larger rival Time Warner Cable Inc for $56 billion, will try to skirt the regulatory obstacles that helped sink Comcast Corp's earlier bid for Time Warner Cable. The combined company would control a big swath of the cable and Internet markets, marking a huge step toward industry consolidation, long advocated by cable pioneer John Malone, Charter's biggest shareholder. The agreement is the latest example of how cable companies are grappling with declining subscriber numbers as viewers shift to cheaper and more flexible streaming services offered by Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Hulu and others.
By Sue-Lin Wong SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Despite being blocked in China, Twitter is courting Chinese companies to buy advertising space on its service used by more than 300 million people elsewhere in the world. "It's not a coincidence that we are here now," Peter Greenberger, director of sales for emerging markets at Twitter, told Reuters on Tuesday. "This seems to be a moment in time where Chinese corporations really feel the urge to be global and in fact, there's even a mandate from the government saying 'go global', which is exciting." The San Francisco-based company already works with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, online shopping giant Alibaba Group , white goods producer Qingdao Haier and flag carrier Air China to target customers abroad.
The head of Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp's mobile business said on Wednesday he plans to deal with the effects of a stronger dollar versus the yen by tweaking the pricing of its handsets and by cutting costs. Hiroki Totoki, who leads Sony's mobile phone business, warned that currency fluctuations could potentially have a bigger impact than competition on profitability.
Policymakers must ensure that financial industry creditors do not expect government bailouts and must be willing to let firms fail in order to restore market discipline, a top Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday. The remarks by Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, repeated much of what he has previously said about what regulators need to do to make the financial system safer. Lacker, a voting member this year on the Fed's policy-setting committee, did not discuss monetary policy.
By Mike Dolan LONDON (Reuters) - For anyone expecting interest rates to be stuck near zero for years to come, the past month has been uncomfortable. The so-called "new normal" or "secular stagnation" theses that posit years of paltry world growth, lingering economic slack and downward pressure on prices and interest rates have fast become consensus thinking among top investors, financial and academic economists.
Swiss cement maker Holcim and French merger partner Lafarge said on Wednesday they had finalised the make-up of the future 10-member executive committee of the combined LafargeHolcim. The companies confirmed that Holcim Chief Financial Officer Thomas Aebischer would be in charge of finance for the group. Lafarge Morocco head Saad Sebbar will lead the Middle East and Africa region, while Lafarge France head Pascal Casanova will be in charge of Latin America, the companies said in a joint statement.
By Ben Klayman DETROIT (Reuters) - Automakers and safety regulators could take months to nail down why air bag inflators made by Takata Corp are exploding with too much force, meaning consumers cannot be certain replacement inflators installed under a sweeping recall are safe, industry officials involved in the process said. Takata, 11 automakers that used its air bag technology and U.S. safety regulators are pursuing separate efforts to determine the root cause of problems linked to at least six deaths. Replacement inflators that are currently being installed could eventually need to be replaced if it turns out that the real problem was not addressed before Takata began making parts to fix about 34 million vehicles covered by the expanded U.S. recall announced last week, several industry officials familiar with the probes said.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that China's economic slowdown should not worry markets as there was no risk of a hard landing, and emphasized that a move to raise U.S. rates should be viewed as a positive sign for the world's largest economy. A Fed rate hike, expected by markets before the end of this year, would be something to cheer about, said Bernanke, who now works at the Brookings Institution and advises bond giant Pimco and hedge fund Citadel. Bernanke also said the economic slowdown in China is necessary as it needs to change its growth model to be more sustainable in the long term.
BYD Co Ltd plans to use funds raised in a potential private placement to boost battery production capacity and develop new models, said the Chinese automaker backed by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc . On Tuesday, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported that BYD was planning to raise up to 12 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) in the placement. BYD halted trading in both H- and A-shares on Monday, saying it was preparing for a potential private placement.