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Asia Stocks: New Year Movers

Asian markets weren't a kind place for investors Monday as U.S. recession fears continue to weigh on the Far East. In Hong Kong, the benchmark index Hang Seng dropped 853.35, or 3.6%, to 22,616.11. The decline marked a new three-week low for the index as officials of the G-7, which consists of the finance ministers of the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, U.K., Italy and Canada, worried investors with talk of declining growth for global economies.

The G-7 also raised the urgency for China to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan against all its major trading partners' currencies. China's benchmark stock index, the Shanghai Index, was closed Monday for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

In America, Chinese ADR Baidu.com (BIDU) traded up 6% on average volume after the stock received a Wall Street upgrade. Pacific Crest analyst Steven Weinstein raised his rating on the Chinese search engine to outperform from sector perform and set a $350 price target. Weinstein believes that BIDU can sustain revenue growth of 100% or more over the next two years.

JA Solar Holdings (JASO) was also a hot name on Monday as shares surged 12% on more than twice the average daily trading volume. Lehman Brothers solar energy equity research analyst Vishal Shah issued bullish comments on JASO, citing an attractive risk/reward for the Chinese solar play. Shah's bullish comments also helped lift other Chinese alternative energy plays like Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE), up 11%; LDK Solar (LDK) up 11%; Suntech Power Holdings (STP), up 10.5%; China Sunergy (CSUN), up 8%; and Solarfun Power Holdings (SOLF), up 7%.

On the downside, Chinese financial media plays Xinhua Finance Media (XFML) and China Finance Online (JRJC) fell 6% and 4%, respectively, on no news. Piper Jaffray came out Monday and initiated coverage on The9 Limited (NCTY) with a neutral rating and a $21 price target. The9 Limited, which ended Monday down 4% at $16.43, wasn't helped by the lofty price target or Jaffray's cautious comments on its earnings visibility for 2008 and 2009.

Make sure to check out the Far East Portfolio every night at Stockpickr.com to find out which stocks in India and China are making big new and moves.

India Recap

The Indian stock market was rocked on Monday as investors dumped equities on news of a planned terrorist attack on the Bombay Stock Exchange. India's Sensitive Index plunged 833.98 points, or 4.8%, to 16,630.91. Six suspected terrorists were arrested in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and are believed to belong to the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba. Not helping the cause was also a very poor showing for shares of Reliance Power, which debuted as the largest IPO in India's history, raising $3 billion.

Reliance Power, which is controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, plunged more than 17% as investors felt the valuation was just too rich. Inflation and growth worries for the Indian economy also contributed to declines in the region.

In America, Indian ADR and global communications specialist Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSL), traded up 10% after two undersea cables that provide Internet connections to areas in the Middle East and Asia were brought back on line and repaired Monday. Four undersea fiber-optic cables that service the Middle East, India and Pakistan were damaged last week causing massive Internet outages across the Far East region. Videsh Sanchar is part of a consortium of companies helping to repair the mysteriously damaged cables.

On the downside, Sterlite Industries India (SLT) fell 5%, HDFC Bank (HDB) fell 3% and Tata Motors (TTM) fell 3%. Tata Motors wasn't helped by news the Indian car company plans to launch its $2,500 Nano model in Europe in four years.

Make sure to check out the Far East Portfolio every night to find out which stocks in India and China are making big moves and announcing major news.

Stockpickr is a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com.

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