Sun, Feb 04, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Wall Street's good run buoys Asian markets

REGIONAL TRADING Robust US consumer data had a positive effect in Asia, although caution ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday period capped gains in Taipei

AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Friday, buoyed by a record finish on Wall Street and the release of robust US consumer spending data, but gains in some markets were capped after another sharp fall in Shanghai.

The Chinese market was again hit hard amid fears the Shanghai benchmark had risen too far and too fast, resulting in a 4.03 percent tumble.

This dampened some regional markets which had risen sharply earlier in the day on the back of Wall Street, US economic data and a reassuring outlook on the US economy offered by the Federal Reserve earlier in the week.

Hong Kong rose 0.65 percent, while Tokyo was up 0.16 percent. Manila was up 0.74 percent and Jakarta gained 0.65 percent, while Wellington ended flat.

Elsewhere, Sydney, Mumbai and Singapore matched New York by closing at all-time highs, while Kuala Lumpur surged 1.66 percent to a 10-year high. Seoul was the standout with a 2.19 percent gain, while Bangkok jumped 2.07 percent.

TAIPEI

Share prices closed 0.98 percent higher in expanded trade as investors took a lead from gains on Wall Street overnight, following the release of robust US consumer data.

Dealers said the upside, however, was capped by caution ahead of a string of holidays for the Lunar New Year later this month.

The weighted index closed up 75.49 points at 7,777.03 on turnover of NT$87.02 billion (US$2.64 billion).

"We managed a more forceful rebound today after a lackluster week," Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co (日盛投顧) deputy manager Wilson Lien said.

The market tried to gain further ground, but it was clear buyers refused to push prices much higher, aware that trading only had a week to go before the market closes for the holidays, he said.

TOKYO

Share prices hit a six-year high briefly on optimism toward company earnings and the US economy, but a flurry of profit-taking left the market only modestly higher by the close.

Dealers said the market posted its best finish for almost 10 months but gains were capped by caution ahead of monthly US jobs data due out later on Friday and another slew of corporate earnings reports.

The NIKKEI-225 index gained 27.61 points to 17,547.11.

"Market sentiment is strong, buoyed by the record high [on Wall Street Thursday]," said Hiroaki Hiwada, strategist at Toyo Securities.

In addition to upbeat US stocks, the market also received support from results.

Dealers said that while sentiment remained generally positive, helped by upward revisions to full-year earnings targets by companies such as Matsushita Electric Industrial, investors opted to wait for further incentives to buy.

HONG KONG

Share prices closed up 0.65 percent, but off their highs, as Wall Street's overnight gains and robust US consumer data encouraged buying of property and financial stocks.

Dealers said the market came off its highs in late trade after mainland bourses suffered another big drop amid continued worries that China may impose new measures to cool its economy and markets.

PC maker Lenovo (聯想) was in focus as it posted sharp gains after announcing an improved performance for its fiscal third-quarter to December.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 133.52 points at 20,563.68.

"The Dow's strong performance overnight drove up the index, but the market had to give up some of the gains after the China markets closed sharply lower," said Conita Hung, research head at Delta Asia Securities.

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