Companies showed signs of shrugging off the caution that has enveloped the world economy since a credit crisis broke, as investors looked on Tuesday to U.S. data to gauge the likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate cut.
Sony Corp said it would list shares of its financial unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange next month, raising up to 361 billion yen ($3 billion) in Japan's largest initial public offering this year.
There had been speculation Sony might delay the IPO because of market upheaval, as banks worldwide scrambled to calculate their exposure to mass defaults on subprime U.S. mortgages offered mainly to poor people.
In Germany, the European country hit hardest by the turbulence, its largest bank Deutsche said it was optimistic about the current quarter and saw signs the market was stabilizing.
Chief Executive Josef Ackermann told a banking conference the violent market conditions of August had affected his bank. But he added: I am optimistic about the environment globally for financial institutions.
Two Germans lenders, IKB and SachsenLB, almost sank when investments linked to the U.S. home loan market turned sour, and several more have detailed billions of euros in exposure.
Ackermann said had there been any delay in a 3.5 billion euro bail-out of IKB by other German banks, the whole sector would have faced serious problems.
U.S. mortgage lender Thornburg, which was forced to sell more than 35 percent of its assets and reduce borrowing to cut its risks, said it had completed the securitization of a $1.4 billion hybrid loan which will help it up its pace of lending.
Some investors now see opportunities in the fallout from the U.S. mortgage chaos.
Dubai government-owned Istithmar said on Monday it was considering buying into two U.S. companies hit by their exposure to high-risk mortgages. The agency said one of its targets was a financial services firm with potential to expand abroad.
A survey by the Nikkei business daily, meanwhile, underlined the relatively limited direct exposure of Japanese banks.
Japan's 109 regional banks collectively face about 5.4 billion yen ($47 million) in losses from products tied to U.S. subprime loans. Combined losses disclosed by Japan's eight big banks have so far been limited to 20 billion yen, Nikkei said.
Manufacturers and other non-financial borrowers are right to feel quietly confident despite the credit turmoil, experts said.
Companies by and large are in reasonable shape, balance sheets are strong, liquidity's good, said David Meade, head of credit research at asset manager Fidelity International.
PTT PCL, Thailand's top energy firm, said it had delayed a plan to sell $400 million of bonds overseas as a result of global financial upheaval.
Undeterred, Trafigura, the world's third-largest independent oil trading firm, will raise $400 million from Asian and Middle East capital markets next month, a senior executive said.
NO END TO LIQUIDITY SQUEEZE
Despite increasingly optimistic noises from banks and firms, liquidity problems persisted in the money markets.
The London interbank offered rate for three-month sterling deposits hit a fresh 8-1/2 year high on Tuesday, while dollar rates for the same period set a 6-1/2 year peak, reflecting consistently strong cash demand from banks.
In a similar vein, Australia's central bank gave banks more cash than expected to combat a sharp rise in bank bill rates.
Analysts say only strong expectations of a near-term U.S. rate cut are keeping further financial market tremors at bay.
To that end, August U.S. manufacturing data from the Institute for Supply Management will be scrutinized at 1400 GMT, ahead of Friday's key non-farm payrolls jobs report.
The nationwide manufacturing PMI (is) arguably one of the first timely monthly indicators to provide us with a gauge of the fallout from financial market turbulence, Jan Lambregts, an economist at Rabobank, said in a note to clients.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured investors last week he would take any steps needed to shelter the economy from a global credit squeeze. But he also made clear the central bank would not bail out investors who had made mistakes.
His comments reinforced the view the Fed would cut interest rates by a quarter point at its next meeting on September 18.
The European Central Bank is expected to keep rates at 4 percent on Thursday due to uncertain market conditions. A few weeks ago, a rate hike had been viewed as a racing certainty.