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St George Bank Ltd, Australia's fifth largest commercial bank, met forecasts with a 12% rise in first-half profit on stronger lending, but shares fell due to sluggish economic growth in its biggest state market.
AS Japan edges closer to rejoin the world of inflation, the Koizumi government has already started to bash the Bank of Japan with all kinds of warnings that the central bank may lose its independence, should it decide to abandon its zero interest rate policy too early.
The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed down 43.75 points, or 0.40 percent, at 10,815.57 points.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) posted an unprecedented quarterly loss yesterday after the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak hit air travel demand, but the carrier said the worst was over although sluggish economic conditions made the outlook hazy.