Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Asian markets still advancing to record highs

SOARING Investors in Asia took their lead from Wall Street's surge, with Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta moving into new territory

AFP , HONG KONG

Asian stocks rallied sharply higher on Friday with investors following Wall Street's lead and pushing many regional benchmarks further into record territory.

Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta all closed at their highest levels ever after Wall Street surged to fresh highs on generally upbeat economic news and a bout of merger and takeover deals.

Regional sentiment was also bolstered by solid corporate results alongside domestic issues, with easing inflation helping Jakarta to a 0.38 percent gain, Sydney to a 0.95 percent rise and Manila was up 0.20 percent.

Improved profit outlooks pushed Taipei up 1.76 percent, while a stronger currency resulted in Mumbai falling 1.02 percent as Wellington closed little changed.

Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for public holidays.

Firmer oil prices lifted Bangkok by 0.92 percent while Singapore was up 1.01 percent, Seoul rose 0.51 percent, Hong Kong gained 0.77 percent, and Kuala Lumpur advanced 1.53 percent.

TAIPEI

Share prices closed at the day's highs, up 1.76 percent, after Wall Street advanced deeper into record territory overnight, with sentiment also bolstered by heightened hopes for a recovery in the technology industry amid positive corporate guidance.

Dealers said investors boosted their holdings particularly of information and communication technology companies which have announced upbeat forecasts.

Financial stocks also moved higher, benefiting from a report that parliamentarians from the ruling and opposition parties tentatively agreed to raise the ceiling on insurers' overseas investments to 45 percent of their investment funds from 35 percent currently.

The weighted index closed up 139.40 points at 8,066.06, on turnover of NT$113.23 billion (US$3.40 billion).

Grand Cathay Investment Services Corp (大華證券) chairman Tu Jin-lung (杜金龍) said high-profile firms with sound fundamentals attracted investors.

"Thanks to the New York lead, investors here were willing to buy into firms seen moving with an [anticipated] industry upswing," Tu said.

Large-cap financial firms outperformed other sectors on expectations of better investment returns if rules on their insurance units' overseas investments are relaxed.

"Investors were pinning hopes on better investment efficiency of the insurance firms if regulatory limits are eased," Tu said.

HONG KONG

Share prices closed at a record high as property stocks gained hopes that a government land auction next week will attract strong bids from major real estate developers and help boost the sector.

Dealers said sentiment was generally positive following Wall Street's record breaking run.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 159.50 points at 20,841.08.

SEOUL

Share prices rose 0.51 percent, extending gains for another all-time high after institutions cheered one more record close on Wall Street following tame inflation data.

Dealers said Wall Street's firm showing encouraged local interest by funds in the absence of strong domestic or regional leads, with both Chinese and Japanese financial markets closed for holidays.

The KOSPI index added 7.88 points to 1,567.74.

SYDNEY

Share prices jumped 0.95 percent to another record close, driven by strength in the resources sector and an easing of the central bank's inflation expectations.

The S&P/ASX 200 ended up 59.3 points at a record 6,304.9.

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