Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Asian markets register third week of gains

REGIONAL ROUNDUP In Taipei technology heavyweights helped push the TAIEX to a seven-year high as the market emerged from consolidation around 9,500 points

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , HONG KONG

An investor gestures in front of a stock price board showing rising prices at a private securities firm in Shanghai on Friday. Chinese share prices rose sharply on Friday, with the Shanghai Composite Index gaining 3.73 percent to close at 4,058.85, its highest level since June 28.

PHOTO: AFP

Asian stocks climbed for a third week, driving a regional benchmark to a high as China reported the fastest economic growth in 12 years. China Mobile Ltd and Nippon Steel Corp, Asia's biggest maker of the alloy, advanced.

"Companies are benefiting from tight supply and growing demand," said Masayuki Kubota, who helps oversee US$2.1 billion in assets at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd in Tokyo. "The global economy and corporate profits are being driven by growing demand in emerging markets such as China."

The Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 160.72, extending this month's gain to 5 percent.

A measure of materials producers that includes Nippon Steel posted the biggest increase among the MSCI's 10 industry groups.

Tokyo Electric Power Co led declines in Japan, posting the biggest weekly drop in two decades, after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northwest Japan damaging one of its nuclear reactors. The NIKKEI 225 Stock Average slid 0.4 percent.

Benchmarks climbed to records in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and South Korea, while Taiwan's TAIEX finished at a seven-year high. Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index was the biggest loser, sliding 6.8 percent amid a wave of deadly terrorist attacks.

China's CSI 300 Index climbed 4 percent, the biggest gain in the region, as the government reported 11.9 percent economic growth for the second quarter. China Vanke, China's biggest listed developer, jumped 21 percent to 25.64 yuan.

Hong Kong-listed China Mobile, the world's largest mobile-phone operator by users, rose 2.5 percent to a record HK$93.20.

The company said it added 5.53 million users last month, the ninth straight month it enlisted a record number of customers.

TAIPEI

Taiwan share prices closed 1.19 percent higher, taking their lead in active trading from another record finish on Wall Street after upbeat US corporate earnings reports, dealers said.

Technology bellwether stocks largely regained momentum but non-tech industrials and financials were a mixed bag amid select profit-taking after their recent strong performance, they said.

The weighted index rose 112.59 points to 9,585.90, the high for the day, on turnover of NT$221.91 billion (US$6.79 billion).

The index hit an intraday low of 9,487.95. Risers led decliners 919 to 564, with 133 stocks unchanged.

A total of 51 stocks closed limit-up and 22 were limit-down.

The market was ready to move upward again after a period of consolidation at around 9,500 points on the benchmark index, an analyst with a leading local house said.

Technology heavyweights in particular -- with the exception of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) -- helped push the index higher on Friday, he added.

Quarterly earnings released by local companies toward the end of the month will determine whether the market will be able to ride the news toward 10,000 points, the analyst added.

TOKYO

Japanese share prices ended the week on an upbeat note after Wall Street hit another record high overnight on solid US corporate results, dealers said.

But they said the gains were limited by jitters over the first-quarter results of domestic firms which start coming out next week.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark NIKKEI-225 index of leading shares rose 41.36 points or 0.23 percent to 18,157.93. Over the week it lost 0.44 percent.

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