Beijing’s ‘Buy China’ policy alarms trade partners

Beijing says it wants to spur Chinese inventions with a “Buy China” policy that gives preference to domestic technology companies. But the tactic has provoked an outcry from Washington and business groups that say it will choke off access to the massive market for goods from software to clean power equipment.

Foreign companies have been alarmed by the government’s announcement it will favor technology developed in China when buying computers and other goods on which it spends billions on each year. The plan, part of a decade-old effort to promote “indigenous innovation,” would channel money to Chinese companies and add to pressure on foreign technology creators to shift research work to China and know-how to local partners. [Read the full article]

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Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore-drilling contractor, said its board of directors authorized the repurchase of shares worth 3.5 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion).

The share repurchase program was approved by shareholders at Transocean’s 2009 annual general meeting. Transocean currently has about 322 million shares outstanding.

Under the share repurchase program, the company said it will fund share repurchases with current and future cash balances and will not use debt. The company cautioned the program could be suspended or discontinued at any time.

The board is also seeking shareholder approval for a dividend valued at about $1 billion, or about $3.11 per share.

The company said it plans to list its share on the SIX Swiss Exchange and will continue to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. shares of Transocean rose 27 cents to $83.65 in morning trading after rising as high as $85.75 earlier in the session. [Read the full article]

Even as markets worldwide mounted impressive rallies off their 2009 lows, Canadian money manager and commodity investor Eric Sprott has remained bearish on most equities and bullish on gold. New filings indicate he has continued to shuffle his cash among a variety of commodity-oriented equities.

Earlier this Month, Sprott told Bloomberg, “I have no trouble imaging we get [gold] to $1,500 this year and $2,000 in two years.” This followed comments to Bloomberg in Decmeber predicting a bear market lasting 15 to 20 years. Given the gold-plated doom and gloom, it’s no surprise to see that Sprott Asset Management’s most recently disclosed holdings show plenty of precious metals.

While Sprott has exposure to many Canadian-listed firms, American investors will be interested in the various U.S.-listed equities it holds. [Read the full article]

Chinese wind energy player A-Power Energy Generation Systems (NASDAQ: APWR – News) has gotten punished over the last month, but it led the sector higher on Tuesday.

Shares of A-Power are surging by 7% today after the company announced that its subsidiary Shenyang Power Group (SPG) made an initial cash contribution to the 600 megawatt Texas wind farm it scored a supply deal for back in October. SPG made a cash contribution of $36.6 million, and, according to a press release, received the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission’s final blessing to go ahead with the project. Recent A-Power pops have largely corresponded with developments related to the Texas wind farm, and traders will likely continue to follow the project’s progress moving forward.

Despite today’s rally, A-Power remains the Wind Energy Stocks Index’s worst performer over the last month. [Read the full article]

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