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Dollar Holds Steady, Eyes on Obama Asia Tour

The dollar held steady against the yen in Asia on Wednesday, with traders looking for developments in U.S.-Japan free trade talks as President Barack Obama starts an Asian tour.

In Tokyo midday trade, the greenback changed hands at 102.57, a touch down from 102.60 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon, while the euro bought $1.3809 and 141.66 yen, against $1.3804 and 141.65 yen.

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Netflix Shares Leap as Membership Climbs

Netflix shares leapt on Monday after the video streaming titan reported that revenue breached a billion dollars atop growing membership and that it plans a bump in new subscription rates.

The California based firm saw its shares rise more than six percent to $371.35 in after-market trades that followed release of earnings figures for the first three months of this year.

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Japan, U.S. Struggle to Bridge Gap on Freer Trade

Japanese and U.S. negotiators are struggling to reach a preliminary agreement on a free trade pact that might have served as a centerpiece for President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo this week.

Japan's economy minister Akira Amari told reporters Tuesday that the two sides remained "at a considerable distance" over trade in farm products and vehicles a day before Obama arrives.

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Indonesia Outgoing Audit Chief a Suspect in $32 mn Graft Case

Indonesian anti-corruption officials have named the outgoing audit agency chief a suspect in a $32-million graft case, the latest high-profile scandal to hit the country's public sector.

Investigators believe Hadi Poernomo, named a suspect late Monday on the first day of his retirement, may have accepted bribes in exchange for tax exemptions granted to Indonesia's biggest private bank.

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China's Shandong Airlines Orders 50 Boeing Planes for $4.6 bn

Shandong Airlines, one of China's smaller carriers, said it has agreed to buy 50 passenger planes from U.S. manufacturer Boeing for $4.6 billion, in another sign of the country's growing demand for air travel.

The company signed an agreement with Boeing on Monday to purchase 16 Boeing 737-800s and 34 Boeing 737 MAX planes, a statement said, in a drive to grow its fleet for future business expansion.

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Minister: Turkey, Russia Agree to Increase Gas Shipments

Turkey has agreed "in principle" to increase shipments of natural gas from Russia via the Blue Stream pipeline, its energy minister said on Monday. 

The two countries will increase capacity through the pipeline, which crosses the Black Sea, from 16 billion cubic metres annually to 19 billion cubic metres, said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. 

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Automakers in China Eager to Sell - and Resel

China's car market is just gearing up as the world's largest, yet automakers are already eyeing the next big thing -- the market for reselling them. 

Their eagerness to attract buyers in the world's largest car market is on full display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which opened to the public on Monday with more than 1,000 vehicles on show. 

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Saudi Chemical Giant SABIC Q1 Profit Drops 1.8 pct

Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC said Sunday its net profit for the first quarter of 2014 dropped by 1.8 percent year-on-year due to lower prices and higher expenses.

The company said in a statement that it earned a net income of $1.72 billion in the first three months of 2014 compared with $1.75 billion in the same period of last year.

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Oil Prices Down in Quiet Asian Trade

Oil prices eased in subdued post-holiday Asian trade Monday, but retained support from the escalating Ukraine crisis following a deadly gunfight over the weekend, analysts said. 

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, dipped 13 cents to $104.17 in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for June eased 42 cents to $109.11 a barrel.

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The Yen under Pressure as Japan's Trade Deficit Swells

The yen was weaker against the dollar and the euro in quiet Asian trade Monday after data showed Japan's trade deficit quadrupled year-on-year in March.

The greenback fetched 102.52 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.46 yen Friday, while the euro was up at 141.66 yen from 141.46 yen. The single currency drifted lower to $1.3817 from $1.3812.

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