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Sun, Dec 21, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Asian stocks rise for second straight week

LOOKING UP Taiwanese shares are expected to gain momentum next week, with buying from local institutional investors to dress up portfolios, dealers predicted

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , TAIPEI AND HONG KONG

Asian stocks rose for a second week as the US, Japan and Hong Kong cut interest rates and oil prices tumbled, boosting optimism that costs for companies will fall and help resuscitate economic growth.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan’s biggest bank, gained 16 percent in Tokyo, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc surged 17 percent.

Qantas Airways Ltd jumped 18 percent in Sydney as crude oil slumped below US$34 a barrel. Samsung Electronics Co climbed 5.3 percent as the benchmark gauge of memory prices climbed for the first time since June.

Taiwanese shares are expected to gain momentum next week. Buying from local institutional investors to dress up their books should boost prices as the year approaches an end, dealers said on Friday.

Interest may focus on the bellwether electronic sector, with attractive valuations after they have been battered on weakening global demand, they said.

Financial stocks may draw market attention on hopes of increasing cross-strait banking exchanges, they said.

The market is expected to overcome technical resistance at around 4,800 points and may gain further to test 5,000 points next week, while any profit taking is likely to be capped at the 4,600 point level, dealers said.

For the week to Friday, the weighted index closed up 213.25 points, or 4.76 percent, at 4,694.52 after a 6.06 percent increase a week earlier.

Average daily turnover stood at NT$71.38 billion (US$2.20 billion), compared with NT$85.11 billion a week ago.

TOKYO

Tokyo shares ended down 0.91 percent.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei index fell 78.71 points to 8,588.52.

HONG KONG

Hong Kong share prices closed 2.4 percent lower. The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 370.30 points at 15,127.51 on turnover of HK$57.38 billion (US$7.40 billion). The market has risen 2.51 percent over the week.

SYDNEY

Shares closed up 1 percent. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 34.5 points to 3,615.7, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 25.5 points at 3,547.2. A total of 2.1 billion shares worth A$7.24 billion (US$5 billion) changed hands.

Mining giant BHP Billiton lost 3.5 percent to A$29.92, while Rio Tinto dropped 2.48 percent to A$39.01.

SHANGHAI

Chinese shares closed up 0.14 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was 2.77 points higher at 2,018.46 on turnover of 73.0 billion yuan (US$10.7 billion).

SEOUL

South Korean shares closed 0.4 percent higher. The KOSPI index ended up 5.06 points at 1,180.97. Volume was 677.14 million shares worth 5.31 trillion won (US$4.12 billion).

SINGAPORE

Singapore shares closed 0.19 percent lower. The blue-chip Straits Times Index closed down 3.48 points at 1,795.47 on volume of 984 million shares worth S$847 million (US$584 million).

KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysian shares closed 0.5 percent lower. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index lost 4.1 points to close at 876.40.

BANGKOK

Thai shares closed 1.04 percent lower. The Stock Exchange of Thailand composite index lost 4.71 points to close at 447.01 points on turnover of 3.29 billion shares worth 11.00 billion baht (US$320 million).

JAKARTA

Indonesian shares ended 0.3 percent lower. The Jakarta Composite Stock Index closed 3.48 points down at 1,348.28 in thin trade.

MANILA

Philippine shares closed 0.1 percent higher. The composite index rose 2.07 points to 1,903.53 points.

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