Sun, Nov 12, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Asian stocks end mostly higher in cautious trading

REGIONAL MARKETS Investors in Asia consolidated on recent gains, while Taiwanese traders were slightly ill at ease over the local political situation and market uncertainty

AFP , HONG KONG

Japanese passers-by and high-rise buildings are reflected on the glass covering an electronic stock price board in central Tokyo on Friday. Japan's benchmark NIKKEI-225 index shed 86.14 points to close at 16,112.43 on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Asian stocks closed mostly higher in cautious trading on Friday with investors consolidating on recent gains following falls on Wall Street and in Tokyo.

In New York investors were rattled by a spike in oil prices while weaker than expected economic data punished Tokyo and its benchmark fell 0.53 percent, Seoul was down 0.27 percent and Bangkok closed down 0.46 percent.

Markets elsewhere were mostly higher, but gains were slight. Taipei gained 0.32 percent, Sydney was up 0.14 percent, Wellington rose 0.20 percent and Kuala Lumpur gained 0.23 percent, edging closer to a record close.

Of the standouts, Jakarta was up just 0.28 percent -- enough for another record close -- while Mumbai surged 1.11 percent, also a record finish.

TAIPEI

Share prices closed 0.32 percent higher in cautious trade, with investors taking to the sidelines after falls on Wall Street overnight and ongoing concerns over local politics.

Dealers said although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) seems to have secured support from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after the indictment of his wife, he is coming under mounting pressure from former allies to step down.

The weighted index closed up 23.07 points at 7,174.20 on turnover of NT$85.25 billion (US$2.6 billion).

"The market continued to be [confined to] rangebound trading; there was simply no justification in taking an even more aggressive stance either way," SinoPac Securities (永豐金證券) assistant vice president Alvin Teng (鄧可欣) said.

He said investors were ill at ease over the local political situation and given the market uncertainty following the retreat on Wall Street overnight, they would rather stay on the sidelines.

"Many must be asking `what will happen next after weeks of new highs set by shares on Wall Street?'" Teng said.

TOKYO

Share prices closed lower for a third straight day as an unexpected slump in key machinery orders rattled investor confidence in the economic recovery.

Dealers said the figures had stoked jitters ahead of Japan's key third-quarter growth snapshot next week, with a weak performance overnight on Wall Street further dampening sentiment.

The NIKKEI-225 index fell 86.14 points to 16,112.43. Volume rose to 1.91 billion shares from 1.66 billion on Thursday.

The market slide "was largely due to the machinery orders data, which gave further credence to market worries that the economy is entering a lull," said Hideo Mizutani, chief strategist at Sieg Securities.

Japanese private-sector core machinery orders slumped by 7.4 percent in September, dashing hopes of an increase, but were forecast to recover through the rest of the year.

"What a relief that the forecast for the quarter to December is for an increase so, I don't think Japan has entered into a recession yet," Mizutani said.

SEOUL

Share prices closed 0.27 percent lower as foreign investors sold down blue chips, with sentiment undercut by Wall Street's pullback.

Dealers said that the fall, which was accelerated by the won's rally against the dollar, was limited on hopes that the market will pick up on solid economic and corporate fundamentals.

The KOSPI index closed down 3.71 points at 1,395.73.

HONG KONG

Share prices closed 0.33 percent lower as investors locked in profits in blue chips and H-shares following Thursday's rally, dealers said.

They said losses on Wall Street and on the Tokyo bourse, after crude prices rose overnight made many investors turn cautious.

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