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Opening Bell 17 January | Asian markets trade higher
January, 17th 2012

A successful French debt auction has helped ignite investor sentiment. European markets ended marginally higher as investors shrugged off Fridays news of Standard & Poors downgrading ratings of nine euro-zone nations, reports MarketWatch. S&P also downgraded the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) by one notch to AA+ on Monday. US markets were shut on Monday on account of a holiday.

Asian markets were trading higher following a successful French bond auction in Europe, reports MarketWatch. Japans Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.5%, South Koreas Kospi advanced 1.53%. Investors will closely watch the Chinese fourth-quarter GDP and industrial output data.
In India, Essar Energy will reduce its crude imports from Iran by 10% from 40% of its crude requirements (5 million tonnes per annum) after the management announced the commissioning of a hydrogen manufacturing unit, reports The Economic Times. The company has commissioned a Rs. 8,310-crore expansion project. Essar Energy has joined the bandwagon of Indian refiners that have reduced dependence on Tehran for oil due to mounting US pressure against Irans nuclear program.

The media Industry is undergoing consolidation. Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL) has joined the race to pick up a majority stake in the two sports channels - Neo Cricket and Neo Sports of Nimbus Communications, reports Business Standard. Two weeks ago Reliance Industries struck a deal with Network18 to buy out a part of Eeandus portfolio. BCCLs interest in Nimbus comes as time when the company has defaulted on payment of Rs. 80-100 crore causing the Board of Control for Cricket in India to call off the broadcasting contract.

Kingfisher Airlines may continue to reel under selling pressure after the UB Group said that it will not use overseas alcohol assets to raise funds for the struggling airline subsidiary. UB group, the alcohol to sports conglomerate is under pressure to find a solution to Kingfishers debt problems as the carrier struggles to meet interest payments.

IDBI Bank plans to raise $200 million by selling bonds and taking partial guarantee from the Asian Development Bank due to high interest rates and liquidity crunch in the domestic market, reports the Wall Street Journal. In November, IDBI Bank sold three-year dim sum bonds worth 650 million yuan at 4.5% yield. Indian companies continue to look oversees to raise money because of lower cost.

Lastly Hollywoods walk of fame comes to Mumbai as Bandra will be the new home to Indias version, reports India Real Time of Wall Street Journal. The initiative has been taken up by UTV stars channel and is similar to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood which has hand imprints of the celebrities on a tile placed along the boulevard.

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