* Asahi strikes $1.3bn Independent Liquor deal

* Asian stocks, commodities decline

* Russia to sell arms to Syria, sales overall to rise

* Lenovo profit almost doubles, beating estimates, on higher sales in China

* Venezuela to nationalise gold industry

* Merck & Co seeks Chinese alliances

* Brazil’s booming wind sector faces auction test

* US losing ground to India and China in maths, science: Obama

Asahi strikes $1.3bn Independent Liquor deal
Asahi has agreed the NZ$1.5bn ($1.3bn) acquisition of Independent Liquor, the Australasian drinks group, in a deal that represents the acquisitive Japanese brewer’s largest takeover to date, reports the FT.

Asian stocks, commodities decline
Asian stocks fell for the first time in four days as the yen traded near a post-World War II high, hurting Japanese exports. Commodities sank after Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG cut forecasts for China’s economic growth, reports Bloomberg.

Russia to sell arms to Syria, sales overall to rise
Russia, the world’s second largest arms exporter, wants to make up for $4bn of contracts lost when the United Nations placed an arms embargo on Libya this year and is also looking to Africa, South America and Southeast Asia to compensate, reports Reuters

Lenovo profit almost doubles, beating estimates, on higher sales in China
Lenovo Group, China’s biggest maker of personal computers, reported first-quarter profit almost doubled, beating analysts’ estimates, after it boosted sales in emerging markets and increased shipments to businesses, reports Bloomberg. Net income climbed to $108.8 mn in the three months ended June 30, or 1.08 cents a share, from $54.9m, or 0.54 cent, a year earlier.

* Venezuela to nationalise gold industry
President Hugo Chávez said on Wednesday that he will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry in a bid to stamp out illegal mining and boost international reserves, reports the FT. Analysts estimate that of Venezuela’s $29bn international reserves, the government will only be able to move about $5bn of its cash reserves.

Merck & Co seeks Chinese alliances
Merck & Co,the second-largest US drugmaker is ditching the strategy of increasing sales employees in China and turning to local partners and education to reach doctors as the US company seeks growth in the world’s third-biggest drugs market, reports China Daily.

Brazil’s booming wind sector faces auction test
Brazil’s blustery coastlines and booming electricity demand have spurred a wind-power gold rush as investors flock to build turbines and set up wind farms, reports Reuters. Government power auctions this week may reveal whether the wind-power investment euphoria is overblown.

* US losing ground to India and China in maths, science: Obama
The US is fast losing ground to countries like India and China in the field of science and mathematics, US President Barack Obama has said, reports the Economic Times. Obama expressed his worry about the lack emphasis to encourage students in maths, science and engineering

Emerging Markets
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DJIA up +0.04% at 11,410

S&P 500 up +0.09% at 1,194

Bovespa up +1.38% at 55,073


Nikkei 225 down -0.42% at 9,020

Topix down -0.58% at 772.15

Hang Seng down -0.03% at 20,283

Shanghai Composite down -0.43% at 2,590

MSCI Asia ex-Japan down -0.61% at 511.28

S&P CNX Nifty Index up +0.41% at 5,057


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