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Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Markets across Asia skyrocket to set new records

HISTORIC WEEK Wall Street inspired trading in the region, with Singapore, Mumbai and Jakarta closing the week at all-time highs as other markets chased historic records

AFP , HONG KONG

Indian stockbrokers at Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd react as the benchmark 30-share SENSEX index reaches a new high in Mumbai on Friday. Indian shares have surged to a record high, led by sustained fund buying in software and telecom stocks. Fund managers said strong second-quarter corporate earnings and economic growth were expected to keep the Indian market buoyant.

PHOTO: AFP

Asian stocks took their cue from a record close on Wall Street, finishing sharply higher on Friday with many striking all-time or multi-year highs on growing confidence in the global economy.

Dealers said New York was driven by optimism over US corporate earnings and after the US Federal Reserve's Beige Book survey provided some reassurance the US economy is holding up relatively well even as the key housing market stalls.

That was enough to allow a strong finish to an historic week which saw North Korea announce an atomic test on Monday and then threaten war and more to come if sanctions were imposed against it.

Security jitters were to the fore too after a small plane crashed into a Manhattan apartment block on Wednesday, recalling the Sept. 11, 2001 horrors, but on news it was an accident, investors returned their focus to market fundamentals.

As a result the Dow Jones jumped 0.81 percent to a record close, setting up Asia for a strong day -- Singapore, Mumbai and Jakarta hit all-time highs, while Hong Kong, Sydney and Wellington were all within sight of historic records.

Tokyo closed 1.02 percent higher, Taipei gained 1.21 percent and Seoul was up 1.26 percent, having recouped nearly all the losses suffered in the aftermath of Pyongyang's nuclear tests.

Local factors also contributed to the positive tone.

Improved metal prices pushed Sydney up 0.58 percent, better than expected export figures was behind a 0.90 percent spike in Manila and strong profits by electricity group Tenaga had lifted Kuala Lumpur 0.81 percent.

Reports of a strong response to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's public offering, potentially the world's largest ever, helped Hong Kong to close 0.65 percent up with the index near the key 18,000-point level.

TAIPEI

Share prices closed 1.21 percent higher on Friday as Wall Street chalked up another record finish overnight as investors banked on a soft landing for the US economy.

The weighted index rose 84.22 points at 7,068.80 on turnover of NT$101.84 billion (US$3.07 billion).

TOKYO

Share prices hit fresh five-month highs as investors cheered a record-breaking performance on Wall Street overnight and bet on strong domestic corporate earnings.

Dealers said the Tokyo market resumed its upswing after two days of profit-taking as investors set aside jitters over North Korea's announcement of its first nuclear test on Monday.

The NIKKEI-225 index rallied 167.73 points to 16,536.54, the best finish since May 12. Volume rose to 1.84 billion shares from 1.67 billion on Thursday.

"Investors cheered the US market's solid performance," said Mitsushige Akino, the chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

SEOUL

Share prices closed 1.26 percent higher, with sentiment lifted by a record for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and strong Asian markets.

Dealers said the market remained in positive territory as foreign investors' position in futures triggered heavy program buying.

The KOSPI index closed up 16.82 points at 1,348.60.

HONG KONG

Share prices closed 0.65 percent higher, but slipped back after topping the key 18,000 points level on Wall Street's record overnight performance.

Dealers said China financial stocks continued in the limelight on reports of very strong institutional investor demand for Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's huge initial public offering (IPO).

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