Sun, Oct 01, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Asian bourses close flat or higher on tentative trade

AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stocks closed flat but tending higher on Friday with Wall Street pushing towards an all-time high helping to underpin positive sentiment, dealers said.

However, they added, trade was quiet across much of the region ahead of extended holidays and this contributed to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta all closing virtually flat.

Elsewhere gains were solid with Tokyo up 0.64 percent on the latest batch of positive economic data, Sydney rose 0.79 percent on improved commodity prices, while Wellington followed the offshore lead and rose 0.42 percent.

Only Bangkok bucked the trend with 0.26 percent fall in cautious trade with investors adopting a wait and see approach to the expected appointment this weekend of a new prime minister.

Manila was closed due to Typhoon Xangsane.

Taipei

Share prices closed little changed with investor caution offsetting early gains made on Wall Street's extended rally.

Dealers said investors adopted a cautious approach on the last trading day of the quarter given a lack of major fresh leads and continuing concerns over an opposition campaign to force President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down over corruption allegations.

The weighted index slipped 2.07 points at 6,883.05 on turnover of NT$69.83 billion (US$2.11 billion).

Despite cautious sentiment, some select stocks, such as BenQ and Chunghwa Telecom, outperformed the broad market on their respective leads, while financial stocks benefited from the central bank's decision to raise key interest rates by 12.50 basis points.

Grand Cathay Investment Services analyst Tu Jin-lung said the end of the quarter kept investors sidelined.

"Investors do not see any significant factors acting as catalysts for the market, so they chose to adopt a cautious stance," Tu said.

He said extended rotational plays dominated the local bourse on Friday, with old-economy stocks continuing to attract interest at the cost of technology stocks which had gained ground previously on hopes for earnings improvements in the peak season.

Looking ahead, domestic political developments and corporate sales data for last month will be key factors for the local bourse, Tu added.

BenQ Corp closed limit-up 1.25 at NT$19.45, after its decision to stop injecting capital into its German mobile phone subsidiary BenQ Mobile GmbH Co, which is considering filing for insolvency protection.

Tokyo

Share prices ended the week at a three-week high, buoyed by fresh gains on Wall Street where the Dow Jones index flirted with an all-time best overnight.

The Nikkei-225 index rose 102.73 points to 16,127.58, the highest finish since Sept. 6. Volume was 1.35 billion shares, down from 1.40 billion shares on Thursday.

Dealers cheered the performance of Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly traded above its January 2000 record high close of 11,722.98 points before closing up 29.21 points or 0.25 percent at 11,718.45.

Sentiment in Tokyo was also helped by a slew of data that showed unemployment steady at the close to an eight-year low in August while consumer prices and industrial output posted gains.

NEC Electronics was up ?60 to 4,060.

Seoul

Share prices closed little changed in thin trade, with investors taking to the sidelines ahead of the weekend and next week's long holiday.

The market was firm initially in line with the further advance on Wall Street but soon turned sideways to close almost flat against the previous session, dealers said.

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