By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets edged broadly higher on Thursday and the Australian dollar jumped after a surprisingly strong reading on Chinese manufacturing bolstered hopes for recovery in the world's second-biggest economy. Japan's Nikkei added 0.2 percent while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3 percent. "Emerging markets continue to be main benefactor from the mix of low volatility, improving global growth and supportive central banks," said analysts at Barclays in a note.
By Ronald Grover , Jennifer Saba and Liana B. Baker LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chase Carey, Twenty-First Century Fox's president and chief operating officer, may be feeling pressure to stay in his job for several more years both from his boss, Rupert Murdoch, and from the company Murdoch is trying to buy, Time Warner Inc. As Murdoch mulls his next step following Time Warner’s rejection of his $80 billion offer, some Time Warner investors say they are concerned about who might succeed the 83-year-old chairman and chief executive. In particular, they're not sure whether Murdoch's sons, James, 41, and Lachlan, 42, are ready to manage the integration challenge. The 60-year-old New Yorker, who's been working for Murdoch since 1988 and earned a reputation for a no-nonsense leadership style, signed a two-year contract with Fox in June that gives him the option to opt out after 18 months.
China's food regulator has visited close to 600 restaurants, businesses and food distributors as it investigates a fast-spreading food safety scare that has dragged in a number of global brands and hit food outlets as far away as Japan. Shanghai police detained five people on Wednesday, including the head and the quality chief of Shanghai Husi Food, a Chinese-based supplier to foreign fast-food brands including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp over allegations it supplied out-of-date meat. Shanghai Husi Food is owned by Illinois-based OSI Group.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's fast-growing mobile advertising business helped drive a 61 percent increase in revenue during the second quarter, beating Wall Street's financial targets and sending shares to a record-high in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Facebook now counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company's ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. Investors bid up shares of Facebook roughly 5 percent to $75.13 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, giving the Internet company a roughly $190 billion valuation, putting it on par with IBM Corp. "It might be more expensive from a market cap perspective, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this level of profitability," JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey said. Facebook's operating margin expanded to 48 percent of revenue in the second quarter, up from 31 percent in the year-ago period.
China's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July as new orders surged, a preliminary HSBC survey showed on Thursday, the latest indication that the economy is picking up as government stimulus measures kick in. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC. "We expect policy makers to maintain their accommodative stance over the next few months to consolidate the recovery." Mainland China stocks jumped after the PMI report while shares in the rest of Asia edged higher. The Australian dollar hit a three-week high on prospects of stronger exports to China.