Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Timid trading leaves markets mixed in Asia

HOLIDAY FEVER Taiwan share prices closed down 0.76 percent on Friday. Sentiment was dampened by caution ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival

AFP , HONG KONG

Asian share markets closed mixed in generally timid trade on Friday with a further upward spike in oil prices overnight and another fall on the Dow Jones Industrial index weighing on a number of key bourses.

Some unfavorable economic data in Japan saw Tokyo shares slip back after the market resumed trading following a holiday break on Thursday, while Australian shares which have been on a record-breaking run fell back for a second consecutive day as profit takers continued to pocket gains.

Hong Kong stocks also got the blues with the Hang Seng index off more than one percent on Wall Street's slip and profit taking ahead of the expiry of the futures contract next Tuesday. Upcoming public holidays next week also turned investors cautious.

In the Philippines, the central bank's decision to kept key interest rates intact at its monthly monetary policy meeting despite a rise in the US Fed's target rate, helped boost sentiment and fuel a one percent gain in the main index.

Taiwan share prices closed down 0.76 percent on Friday after a weaker Wall Street overnight amid concerns over rising crude oil prices, dealers said.

Sentiment was also dampened by caution ahead of the weekend and a public holiday next week, with the Mid-Autumn Festival on Tuesday when the market will be closed.

The TAIEX closed down 45.04 points at 5,892.21, off a high of 5,943.87 and a low of 5,882.88, on turnover of NT$80.9 billion (US$2.39 billion).

Japanese share prices fell 1.13 percent on Friday after Wall Street extended losses overnight on a further rise in crude oil prices and amid increased wariness over the outlook for the Japanese economy, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark NIKKEI-225 index lost 124.25 points to 10,895.16, its first close under 11,000 since Aug. 23. The broader TOPIX index of all First Section shares fell 11.71 points or 1.05 percent to 1,102.37.

The Tokyo market was closed on Thursday for a public holiday.

Hong Kong share prices closed the week sharply lower, dropping 1.61 percent following a fresh upturn in oil prices which prompted further losses on Wall Street overnight, dealers said.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 213.59 points at 13,066.84, off a low of 13,035.16 and high of 13,253.33.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was down 87.01 points or 1.88 percent at 4,538.68, off a low of 4,511.15.

Chinese share prices closed 2.0 percent lower on Friday, reversing sharp early gains as investors took quick profits on the petrochemical and financial stocks which had led the sharp gains Thursday, dealers said.

They said there was no new lead to spark the reversal, with profit-taking simply reasserting itself after the recent sharp run-up as investors bet the government would be forthcoming with more market-friendly policies.

The Shanghai A-share Index fell 30.68 points to 1,506.14. Turnover was 28.46 billion yuan (US$3.43 billion) while the Shenzhen A-share Index was down 8.23 points or 2.12 percent at 379.80 on turnover of 17.96 billion yuan.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A- and B-shares, closed down 29.22 points or 1.99 percent at 1,435.56 on turnover of 28.67 billion yuan.

Australian share prices closed down 0.31 percent on Friday as investors decided to cash in gains from the market's prolonged rally, dealers said.

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