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Friday, February 27, 2009

Stock Market News, Financial News - Feb 27, 2009

ANALYSIS - Insurers, drug makers take hit under Obama plan

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's 2010 budget proposal takes direct aim at drug makers and health insurers to help fund an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

His plan, outlined Thursday, calls for lowering Medicare payments to private insurers, allowing consumers to buy cheaper medicines from overseas and preventing drug companies from making deals that block generic competition.

Shares of U.S. health insurers suffered, with Humana Inc down 19 percent, Aetna Inc off 11 percent, Cigna Corp down 7 percent, UnitedHealth Group Inc off 12 percent and WellPoint Inc down 9 percent in afternoon trading.  (More ... )

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GLOBAL MARKETS - Asian shares flat in end to tough month

By Rafael Nam

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Asian shares were flat on Friday, ending the month with losses on continued investor concern over the world economy and the financial system, while safety bids such as dollar buying erased some of their recent gains.

The advances in stock markets at the start of the year unraveled further in February as the MSCI index of Asian shares outside Japan headed for a 5 percent monthly fall, having hit at one point their lowest since the five-year lows in late November.

Risk aversion in February was reflected in the surge of the dollar, which is on track to its biggest monthly gain against the yen since 1995, and a rally in gold that took it past the $1,000 an ounce barrier to approach a March 2008 record.  (More ... )

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ASEAN sends mixed signals on trade, rights

By Nopporn Wong-Anan

HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) - Southeast Asian foreign and trade ministers met in Thailand on Friday to start on the road to turning the 41-year old ASEAN grouping into an EU-style common market by 2015 and keeping their economies on a growth trajectory.

But leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations sent mixed signals about free trade in the midst of the worst global financial crisis in decades as they gathered for an annual summit at Thailand's royal seaside resort of Hua Hin.  (More ... )

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Suzlon: U.S. wind growth slowing in '09

By Matt Daily

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. wind power generation in 2009 will probably be half the record 2008 level as the financial crisis paralyzed cash flows to new wind farms, the head of wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy Ltd's U.S. operations said on Thursday.

That contraction will reduce revenues for Suzlon in the world's largest wind power market from the nearly $1 billion the company posted in 2008, Andris Cukurs, chief executive of the Suzlon U.S. operations, said in an interview.

Development of new wind farms has slowed sharply in recent months as banks suffering from the global credit crisis shut off the flow of money for new projects.  (More ... )

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Indian exports to contract through March quarter

By Manoj Kumar and Rajesh Kumar Singh

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's exports in January contracted a sharp 16 percent and are expected to fall for the next two months, a senior official said, as a deepening global slump slashes away at demand for its goods and services.

Exports, which make up close a fifth of Asia's third-largest economy, will have fallen for four months in a row if the estimates of the Director General of Foreign Trade, R.S. Gujral, prove to be correct, after years of speedy growth.  (More ... )

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