Sun, Dec 05, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Asian markets mostly lower in cautious trading

CONCERN The TAIEX closed higher, supported by Intel's upgrade of its Q4 sales forecast, although investors were cautious ahead of the local elections

AP AND AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stock markets closed mostly lower on Friday, but prices rose in Tokyo following the US dollar's rebound against the Japanese yen.

Tokyo's NIKKEI Stock Average of 225 issues gained 101.82 points, or 0.93 percent, to 11,074.89. The index climbed 188.82 points, or 1.75 percent, the day before.

Stocks headed higher in early trading as investors welcomed the dollar's rebound. The US dollar was trading at ¥103.52, up ¥1.49 from late Thursday and also above the ¥103.07 it bought in New York later that day.

Semiconductor testing device maker Advantest Corp also rose after US semiconductor giant Intel Corp raised its fourth-quarter sales forecast thanks to strong holiday demand for microprocessors worldwide.

Taiwanese share prices closed 0.43 percent higher, supported by Intel Corp's upgrade of its fourth-quarter sales forecast but there was some caution ahead of the legislative polls due next week, dealers said.

They said there are concerns that the Democratic Progressive Party could secure its first ever legislative majority in the elections on Dec. 11.

The TAIEX closed up 25.32 points, or 0.43 percent, at the day's high of 5,893.27, off a low of 5,850.89, on turnover of NT$52.16 billion (US$1.63 billion).

The market was negative overall as losers led gainers 335 to 280, with 199 stocks unchanged.

"The Intel factor served as the driving force for the local bourse, particularly technology stocks," said Frank Lin, senior vice president at Fubon Securities (富邦投信).

"Expectations for continued foreign investor interest also supported the stock market," he noted.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) closed up NT$0.90 at NT$48.90, United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) was up NT$0.10 at NT$20.40, and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) rose NT$0.20 to NT$42.70.

In Hong Kong, the blue-chip Hang Seng Index fell 49.95 points, or 0.35 percent, to 14,211.84.

Investors took profits after the key index rose 98.99 points, or 0.70 percent to a 45-month high on Thursday, brokers said.

Singapore shares also ended lower on profit-taking after hitting a new four-year high early in the session as technology stocks rallied on Intel's improved revenue outlook.

The Straits Times Index fell 1.18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,061.58.

New Zealand shares closed lower. The NZSX-50 Gross Index fell 4.01 points, or 0.13 percent, to 3,009.46.

Australian shares closed lower on profit-taking. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.4 points, or 0.06 percent, to 3939.50.

South Korean shares closed slightly lower on selling by foreign investors.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or KOSPI, fell 1.55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 882.55.

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