Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Singapore, Jakarta lead surge on Asian markets

REGIONAL ROUNDUP Bolstered by electronics gains, the TAIEX made strong gains despite relatively low turnover as most investors shrugged off North Korea's nuclear test

AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stocks followed the record performance set by Wall Street overnight and closed solidly higher on Friday with many markets nearing all-time best or multi-year highs.

Investors around the region cheered as the Dow Jones in New York closed above the 12,000 mark for the time ever and this helped Singapore and Jakarta to close at a record high and Manila notched up its best finish since 1999.

Sydney and Hong Kong were also higher and trading just shy of record levels while Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo shrugged off the lingering impact of North Korea's nuclear test and made strong gains.

However, Kuala Lumpur was flat and Mumbai slightly lower while trading near its record high after profit-taking set in ahead of national holidays.

TAIPEI

Share prices closed 0.69 percent higher on the back of Wall Street's gains overnight as the Dow Jones closed above 12,000 points for the first time.

Dealers said electronics rose in tandem with gains on NASDAQ, while financials stabilized after recent losses on concerns about investigations into Chinatrust Financial Co's (中信金控) previous bid for Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控).

The weighted index closed up 43.54 points at 7,039.37 on turnover of NT$70.27 billion (US$2.12 billion).

"We had a rebound mainly thanks to overnight gains on Wall Street and largely firmer regional markets today," said Daniel Tseng (曾建詮), a manager at Fubon Securities Investment Services Co (富邦投顧).

The relatively low turnover, however, signaled an underlying sense of caution, which was probably natural ahead of the weekend, he said.

"Yes, an extended technical rebound remains possible next week," he said. "Still, a conspicuous expansion in turnover will be needed for the market to recover its recent highs above 7,100 points."

AU Optronics Corp's (友達光電) as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co's (台積電) quarterly briefings, which are due next week, are likely to have a decisive bearing on whether investors take aggressive positions in the near term, he added.

TOKYO

Share prices ended in positive territory after Wall Street's Dow Jones index closed at a record high above 12,000 points and on hopes of upbeat local earnings.

Bucking the trend, Sony fell after the electronics giant's profit warning but dealers said the overall market impact was limited as investors were confident that other companies would not be dragged down.

The NIKKEI-225 index gained 100.27 points to 16,651.63. Volume rose slightly to 1.55 billion shares from 1.53 billion on Thursday.

"Basically, market sentiment remains solid, supported by expectations for improved earnings at Japanese firms," said Hideo Mizutani, a chief strategist at Sieg Securities.

Major Japanese companies such as Sharp, Honda Motor, Sony and Nissan Motor will release their first half results next week.

Some analysts warned, however, that shares would not necessarily rise in response to positive first-half results.

"Since some other technology stocks have already advanced on [upbeat] expectations, some investors feel that those stocks may become the victim of `buy on the rumor, and sell on the fact' [strategies]," said Shinko Securities market analyst Yutaka Miura said.

SEOUL

Share prices closed higher on an overnight rally on Wall Street and expected solid earnings from local firms.

Dealers said domestic demand-linked stocks such as retailers and financials led the advance.

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