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Asian Markets A Sea of Red

Still, the slide in equity prices comes amid voracious deal making. China National Chemical offered A$2.96 billion, or $2.71 billion, for Australian agricultural chemical giant Nufarm (NUF), enlisting U.S. buyout funds Blackstone (BX) and Fox Paine. That would be the largest joint purchase of a foreign-owned firm by a Chinese company and a U.S. private equity house to date.

In Japan, Sony (SNE) gave up 2.74%, to 5,670 yen, while Canon (CAJ) dipped 2.68%, to 5,800 yen, and Nintendo (NTDOY), one of the year's best performing Japanese shares, slipped 2.21%, to 70,500 yen.

Toyota (TM) fared poorly, down 4%, to 6,480 yen, while banks Mizuho Financial (MFG) and Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) plunged on renewed global subprime jitters. Mizuho lost 5.74%, to 607,000 yen, and Mitsubishi UFJ plummeted for the second day running, by 5.98%, to 1,052 yen.

That's bad news for the iShares Japan Index (EWJ) ETF, which is invested 15.8% across those 6 companies.

The yen strengthened sharply in Asian trading, to 114.59 vs the dollar, against yesterday's price of 115.79. The week's high price dampens recent speculation by many that the yen carry trade may be back in favor as a source of extra capital to regional markets.

In Korea, the government pension fund, which manages $235 billion in assets, is starting a $22 billion fund to invest in oil and gas assets, it announced this week.

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