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March 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM
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Markets open lower

NEW YORK, March 18 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks opened lower Monday on news that a bailout for Cyprus included a tax on bank deposits.

"This morning the news is all about Cyprus, the home to 'dirty money' with an estimated $18 billion of Russian and other Mafia money on deposit," Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Jeffrey James & Associates said in a note to clients, MarketWatch reported.

The New York Times reported the plan is still up in the air. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has delayed a parliamentary vote on the bailout for a second time, as he is having difficulty finding support for the proposal.

In late morning trading Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 23.87 points, or 0.16 percent, to 14,490.24.

The Nasdaq dipped 9.52 points, or 0.29 percent, to 3,239.55.

The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 5.89 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,554.81.

Market analysts are also questioning of stocks have or have not gotten ahead of themselves. On Friday, the Dow index closed lower after 10 consecutive days in the black, the longest winning streak in at least 16 years.

On Monday, 10-year U.S. treasury bonds rose 13/32 to yield 2.023 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was at $1.2954 from Friday's $1.2907. Against the yen, the dollar was higher at 94.96 yen from 94.36 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 shed 340.32 points, 2.71 percent, to 12,220.63.

Asian bank warns of asset price bubble

MANILA, March 18 (UPI) -- An Asian Development Bank official said Monday surging investments in emerging East Asia local currency bond markets could raise asset price bubble risks.

In its latest Asia Bond Monitor, the ADB, which has headquarters in Manila, reported the region's local currency bond markets grew by more than 12 percent in 2012.

Emerging East Asia includes mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"Emerging East Asia is much more resilient than it used to be but governments still need to be careful that the surge in capital inflows doesn't fuel excessive rises in asset prices and that they are prepared for a possible reversal in the flows when the economies of the U.S. and Europe pick up again," said Thiam Hee Ng, senior economist in ADB's Office of Regional Economic Integration.

At the end of last year, the emerging East Asia region had $6.5 trillion in outstanding local currency bonds, up from $5.7 trillion at the end of 2011. The corporate markets, while smaller than the government bond markets, drove the increase, growing 18.6 percent year-on-year, the bank said.

The bank said while investors have been favoring emerging East Asia since the early 1990s, their money flows have jumped in recent years because of low interest rates and slow or negative economic growth in developed economies. Additionally, emerging East Asia has enjoyed high growth rates and appreciating currencies.

The report said investments are increasingly flowing from overseas, with foreign ownership in most emerging East Asia local currency bond markets increasing in the second half of 2012.

The fastest-growing bond market in the region last year was Vietnam, up 42.7 percent from 2011, largely due to a rapid expansion in the country's government bond market. The Philippine market grew 20.5 percent and Malaysian market grew 19.9 percent.

Israeli company wins Brazil defense bid

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 18 (UPI) -- The Brazilian Air Force selected Israel Aerospace Industry to build airborne refueling systems for a number of Boeing 767-300 aircraft, the company said.

"We are very pleased to have won the bid to provide the Brazilian Air Force with multi-mission-tanker and transport aircraft capable of performing air-to-air refueling, strategic troop and cargo transport and aero medical evacuation," Joseph Weiss, company president and chief executive officer, said Sunday. "I see the Brazilian Air Force as a very important and strategic customer."

The Israeli company was chosen over several international bidders to win the contract said to be worth tens of millions of dollars, Israel Radio said.

Belle Grande complex to open in 2014

MANILA, March 18 (UPI) -- The Philippines' $1.3 billion Belle Grande Manila Bay casino and entertainment complex is expected to open in the middle of next year, a company official said.

Willy Ocier, vice chairman of SM Investments leisure firm Belle Corp., said the facility would be operating by "probably June or July, mid-2014," the Philippine Star reported.

"It is not just a casino but a whole lot of entertainment, all in support of the tourism industry in the Philippines," Ocier said.

The complex, in the 120-acre Entertainment City in Manila Bay, will reportedly have 920 hotel rooms.

SM Investments is the Philippines' largest shopping mall developer and operator. It has 46 malls nationwide.

The casino-entertainment complex is a partnership with Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.

The Star said the government is setting up the Entertainment City to compete with other major gaming hubs.

Melco will operate the Belle Grande.

"We are catering to the middle-income foreigners in the region. Our thrust is to get more tourists in the Philippines," Ocier said.

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