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Wed, Oct 11, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies,shares recover on bargain hunting

AGENCIES , HONG KONG, SEOUL AND TOKYO

Asian stocks reversed Monday's drop on speculation that US President George W. Bush will seek diplomatic solutions after North Korea said it tested a nuclear weapon.

"Experience has taught people, including foreign investors, that a loss because of North Korea is actually a chance to buy," said Kim Hyun-tae, who manages about US$550 million in equities at Landmark Investment Management Co in Seoul.

South Korean stocks rose yesterday, and the won gained against the US dollar.

In South Korea, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, gained 8.97 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,328.37. The Kospi closed 2.4 percent lower at 1,319.40 on Monday.

The South Korean currency also rose, reversing a sharp decline the day before. One US dollar bought 959.5 won, compared with 963.9 won on Monday.

Japanese stocks edged higher yesterday, shrugging off worse-than-expected economic data and the impact of North Korea's claimed nuclear weapons test.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 41.19 points, or 0.25 percent, to finish at 16,477.25 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

In currencies, the US dollar was trading at ?119.10 on the Tokyo foreign exchange market at 3pm yesterday, up from ?119.12 late on Monday in New York.

The euro fell to US$1.2598 from US$1.2605.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.5 percent to 129.56 in Tokyo. The benchmark declined 0.5 percent on Monday.

"The North Korea situation is calming down a bit," said Steven Leung, a Hong Kong-based director of institutional sales at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd.

US crude rose US$0.41 to US$60.37 as investors waited for OPEC to announce an output cut and amid heightened tensions surrounding North Korea.

Among regional share mar-kets, Australia's S&P/ASX 200, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Singapore's Straits Times all advanced more than 0.5 percent.

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