Sun, Aug 05, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Asian markets decline amid US subprime woes

LOANS CRISIS The TAIEX rose 1.2 percent on Friday as solid second-quarter results helped offset concern about problems in the US mortgage market

BLOOMBERG

Asian stocks fell for a second week, led by Macquarie Bank Ltd and Taiwan Life Insurance Co (台灣人壽), on concern the US subprime loans crisis is spreading to the region's financial companies.

Macquarie Bank, Australia's largest securities firm, erased its gains for the year after saying investors in some of its funds may lose as much as 25 percent of their money. Taiwan Life had its worst week in more than three years after reporting a hedge fund loss.

Taiwan Life dropped 10 percent, the most since the period ended March 26, 2004. The insurer booked a NT$428 million (US$13 million) loss in the first half on its investment in the Bear Stearns High Grade Credit Strategies fund. Taiwan Life wrote off its entire investment in the fund to fully reflect the fund's value, the company said.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped 1.1 percent to 152.81. The measure plunged 3.9 percent in the five days ended July 27, the worst weekly drop since July 14 last year, amid a rout that wiped out US$2.1 trillion in global market value.

TAIPEI

Taiwanese share prices closed 1.2 percent higher as optimism about company earnings provided additional momentum to a market boosted by sustained gains on Wall Street overnight.

Dealers said solid second-quarter results and positive guidance at Taiwanese companies helped offset concerns about the fallout from problems in the US home loan industry which have roiled global equity markets in recent weeks.

The weighted index rose 107.25 points to 9,057.82 on turnover of NT$172.12 billion.

Beyond Asset Management Co (晉昂證券投顧) president Michael On (洪瑞泰) said the market initially followed Wall Street's lead and advanced for a second consecutive day, with the biggest losers in recent trade leading Friday's gains.

TOKYO

Japanese share prices ended mixed amid persistent concerns about problems in US credit markets despite the extended rebound on Wall Street.

Dealers said investors opted to stay on the sidelines while they awaited the US employment report for last month later on Friday, leaving the benchmark NIKKEI index to slip back below the key 17,000 points level, which it topped in early trade.

The NIKKEI-225 index closed down 4.25 points at 16,979.86.

HONG KONG

Share prices closed 0.42 percent higher as select blue chips and China-related stocks rose with sentiment buoyed by a record-breaking finish on the mainland markets.

Dealers said investors there built strong positions in financial stocks on upbeat interim earnings.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 95.19 points at 22,538.44.

SHANGHAI

Chinese share prices jumped 3.47 percent for another record finish Friday, extending the previous day's rally on strong first-half corporate results.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 153.04 points or 3.47 percent to 4,560.77.

SEOUL

South Korea share prices closed 1.3 percent higher, recouping some of the recent heavy losses as investors took heart from a further overnight gain on Wall Street.

The KOSPI index ended 23.73 points higher at 1,876.80.

SYDNEY

Australian share prices closed up 0.2 percent in volatile trade as investors remained wary after heavy losses earlier this week on concerns at growing problems in the US home loan market.

The S&P/ASX 200 rose 9.2 points to 6,021.0.

SINGAPORE

Share prices closed flat as the market continued to fret over the US home loans crisis and waited for key US employment data due later in the day.

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