Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Friday following Wall Street's rise and easing concerns over the US economy, but gains were capped by Middle East tension which has driven up the price of oil.
Wall Street firmed on Thursday after an upward revision to US economic growth helped ease fears about a slowdown and this had most Asia-Pacific markets off to a positive start before some bargain hunters stepped in.
Rising oil prices also weighed on sentiment amid the week-old standoff between London and Tehran over 15 naval detainees which has sent world oil prices surging to a six-month high -- with warnings they could rise further.
As a result, Taipei was up 0.46 percent, Tokyo gained just 0.14 percent, Seoul gained 0.11 percent and Sydney was 0.57 percent higher.
Bangkok was up 0.31 percent in nervous trading ahead of protests against the military-installed government, while Singapore closed flat and Shanghai ended a string of record runs by easing 0.42 percent.
Taiwanese share prices closed 0.46 percent higher as the lead set by Wall Street's overnight gains outweighed technical pressure and profit-taking.
Dealers said the central bank's decision to raise its key interest rate by 12.50 basis points from Friday did not have much effect on the equity market as the magnitude of the rate increase met market expectations.
The TAIEX closed up 36.08 points at 7,884.41 on turnover of NT$117.72 billion (US$3.56 billion).
Grand Cathay Investment Services Corp (
"Investors had made their necessary moves earlier, so they were reluctant to conduct any aggressive measures during the last session," he said.
While the lead on Wall Street overnight lent support to the local bourse, investors here still refrained from any strong position-building ahead of the weekend.
"With companies here to soon disclose their 2006 earnings results and first-quarter performance, many stayed on the sidelines," Tu added.
He said that investors would look for corporate leads and moves in the major markets for clues as to the direction the local bourse will take.
Share prices closed slightly higher after an upward revision to US economic growth which helped lift Wall Street overnight.
Dealers said investors cashed in most of their early gains, turning cautious ahead of Monday's key Tankan survey of Japanese business sentiment after a raft of domestic data broadly met market expectations.
The NIKKEI-225 index rose 23.71 points to 17,287.65. Volume fell to 1.94 billion shares from 2.34 billion on Thursday.
Dealers said trading had been thin as the end of the fiscal year at the weekend approached, especially in view of uncertainty about the outlook for the US economy.
Share prices closed 0.11 percent lower, though off their lows, as profit-taking eased toward the end of trade, but with caution remaining over rising crude oil prices.
Dealers said select property and financial stocks began drawing some interest again and helped limit the market's overall losses.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 20.85 points at 19,800.93.
Share prices closed slightly higher, with institutional investors playing it safe and selling ahead of the weekend and upcoming corporate earnings releases.
Dealers said the market got off to a firm start following Wall Street's overnight gains but the early interest weakened in late trade.
The KOSPI index closed up 1.60 points at 1,452.55.
Share prices closed mixed as the Shanghai market was hit by profit-taking in the banks while Shenzhen rose on interest in steelmakers.
Dealers said some profit-taking was to be expected after the market's seven-day record-breaking run and the reverse in Shanghai did not appear substantial.
The Shanghai Composite Index was down 13.55 points at 3,183.98.
"The Shanghai market was under pressure from profit-taking in banking stocks, with investors becoming cautious after the key index's gains over the past nine trading days," said Wang Sai, an analyst at Wanguo Consulting.
Share prices closed 0.57 percent higher in heavy trading, buoyed by merger and acquisition activity in the media and energy sectors.
The SP/ASX 200 closed up 34.1 points at 5,995.
Share prices closed slightly higher with late buying of blue chips.
The Straits Times Index closed up 2.36 points at 3,231.24 on volume of 1.78 billion shares.
Share prices closed 0.89 percent higher led by blue chips and property stocks, with the gains also seen as a technical rebound after a mid-week sell-off. The composite index rose 10.98 points to 1,246.87.
"The market was up mainly on a technical rebound after the sell-off mid-week," an analyst from a local investment house said.
Share prices closed 0.31 percent higher, led by gains in energy-linked shares as oil prices continued to climb due to rising tensions over Iran's seizure of British military personnel.
But dealers said the broader market was kept in check due to political worries in Thailand as anti-junta protesters planned to go ahead with a rally in Bangkok despite security warnings.
The composite index rose 2.09 points to 673.71.
Share prices closed up 0.71 percent as buying picked up in mid and small-cap stocks following data showing lower than forecast inflation.
Dealers said sentiment also improved on bargain-hunting and a smooth rollover of most stock positions to the next futures market contract which began on Friday.
The 30-share Mumbai SENSEX index rose 92.44 points to 13,072.1.
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