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Kyodo economic news summary -3-.

TOKYO, March 16 Kyodo

---------- U.S. fund TPG set to be picked as possible acquirer of JVC

OSAKA - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. is in the final stages of picking U.S. investment fund Texas Pacific Group as a possible acquirer of Victor Co. of Japan, its money-losing subsidiary maker of audiovisual products, informed sources said Friday.

Matsushita has a 52.4 percent stake in Victor, a pioneer of VHS-format videocassette recorders better known overseas as JVC.

---------- Dollar falls into 116 yen range on U.S. rate cut speculation

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar dropped into the 116 yen range Friday morning in Tokyo on growing speculation about a near-term interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

At noon, the dollar was quoted at 116.85-90 yen, down from Thursday's 5 p.m. quotes of 117.52-62 yen in New York and 117.25-28 yen in Tokyo.

---------- Nissan to reduce output at 2 plants on weak domestic sales

TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. will reduce car output at its plants in Kanagawa and Tochigi prefectures from April due to stagnant domestic sales, company officials said Friday.

The Oppama plant in Kanagawa will put some of its production lines out of use and the Kaminokawa-machi plant in Tochigi will slash its output of all models except for its popular Skyline cars, they said.

---------- Universal Studios Japan operator debuts on TSE's Mothers market

TOKYO - USJ Co., the operator of the Universal Studios Japan theme park, debuted Friday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market for start-up firms, ending the morning at 49,500 yen, higher than its initial public offering price of 49,000 yen.

The first quotation fetched by the issue was 46,660 yen.

---------- China's parliament passes property law

BEIJING - Delegates to China's parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of a property law Friday that grants equal status to property owned privately, by the state, and collectively for the first time since 1949.

A total of 2,799 delegates at the National People's Congress voted in favor of the new law, which has been through seven drafts since work on it began in 1993. A total of 52 voted against the proposal, 37 abstained and one delegate failed to successfully vote.

---------- Toshiba to raise dividends for fiscal 2006

TOKYO - Toshiba Corp. said Friday its board has decided to increase dividends for fiscal 2006 ending this month to 11 yen per share from 6.5 yen in the previous year.

The annual dividends include 4.50 yen in interim dividends paid for the first half of the year and 6.50 yen in year-end dividends.

---------- GM lacks confidence about staying world's top automaker

NEW YORK - General Motors Corp. indicated Thursday it is highly possible that it will lose its position as the world's top automaker to Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. in 2007.

''As has been true for the prior 74 years, GM had the largest global market share for 2006, however, there is no assurance we will continue in that position,'' GM said in an annual report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

---------- Nissan to reduce output at 2 plants on weak domestic sales

TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. will reduce car output at its plants in Kanagawa and Tochigi prefectures from April due to stagnant domestic sales, company officials said Friday.

The Oppama plant in Kanagawa, which turns out the March and other subcompact models, will cut back output for the first time since last December. The Tochigi plant, whose output includes the Skyline, last reduced output in August last year.

---------- Bombardier avoids being bound on root cause of landing accident

TOKYO - A senior Bombardier official made an apology on Friday over a landing-gear accident involving one of the Canadian manufacturer's planes but avoided being pinned down on when a bolt fell off the plane's door-opening mechanism to force it to make an emergency landing at a Japanese airport earlier this week.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Bombardier Vice President Todd Young said he cannot comment at this point on whether the bolt's fall-off occurred in the plane's manufacturing process or as a result of poor maintenance by Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways.

---------- Livedoor shareholders welcome ruling on Horie, while some hope for comeback

TOKYO - Friday's ruling by the Tokyo District Court that sentenced former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie to two and a half years in prison was welcomed by shareholders seeking damages from the once high-flying Internet and financial services company, while young entrepreneurs are hoping he will make a comeback.

Chohei Yonekawa, who represents a group of lawyers working for Livedoor shareholders said, ''The ruling...put importance on protecting trust toward the fairness in markets. With this ruling, we will make further efforts to win at the civil court.''

---------- Zensho reports successful tender offer for Sunday's Sun

TOKYO - Zensho Co., which runs a ''gyudon'' beef-on-rice-dish restaurant chain, said Friday its tender offer for family restaurant operator Sunday's Sun Inc. ended successfully Thursday.

Sunday's Sun, which is based in Yamaguchi Prefecture and runs some 300 restaurants in regions from Kyushu to the greater Tokyo area, will become a Zensho subsidiary on March 26, while remaining listed on the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, said Zensho based in Tokyo.

---------- Tokyo stocks ends lower in choppy session

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks ended lower Friday in choppy trading as the weak dollar and concerns over the course of the U.S. economy made investors dump a wide range of issues ahead of the weekend.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 116.24 points, or 0.69 percent, on the day to close at 16,744.15. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 17.12 points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,677.06.

---------- Gov't downgrades Jan. key economic gauge to below boom-or-bust line

TOKYO - The government revised downward Friday a key gauge of the current state of the Japanese economy for January to below the boom-or-bust threshold for the first time in 10 months, casting a cloud over the future course of the country's economy.

The index of coincident indicators was downgraded to 45.0 percent from a preliminary 55.6 percent, with the figure falling below the 50-percent benchmark for the first time since last March, the Cabinet Office said.

---------- Tokyo stocks end lower in choppy session

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks ended lower Friday in choppy trading as a weaker dollar and concerns over the course of the U.S. economy made investors dump a wide range of issues ahead of the weekend.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 116.24 points, or 0.69 percent, to close at 16,744.15. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 17.12 points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,677.06.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 19, 2007
Words:1138
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