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Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
Hang Seng Gains on Bank Stocks

Hong Kong share prices rose 0.6 percent yesterday with solid gains in HSBC and oil stocks partially offset by weakness in several major telecommunications and property firms, dealers said.

The key Hang Seng index gained 59.28 points to close at 9,715.74 on turnover of HK$5.97 billion (US$766 million).

Dealers said momentum slowed in the afternoon session amid some skepticism over the sustainability of gains seen in US and European markets on Monday.

They also said uncertainties surrounding the situation in Iraq and the outlook for the global economy continued to weigh on confidence, with turnover remaining relatively thin.

Taiwan Shares Close Lower

Taiwan share prices gave up early gains to close 0.8 percent lower yesterday as fund managers took profits ahead of their year-end closing of accounts, dealers said.

The weighted index closed down 36.43 points at 4,545.62, off a high of 4,633.65, on turnover of NT$55.28 billion (US$1.59 billion).

Electronics and financial stocks led the market lower, while cement and transport stocks managed to stay in positive territory due to rotational interest, dealers said.

"Investors locked in profits as they are preparing to close their books for the year," Daiwa SBCM Cathay Securities assistant general manager Frank Lin said.

"Given expectations of rangebound consolidation going forward, fund managers are cashing out," he said.

Nikkei Rises Marginally

Japanese share prices closed up 0.7 percent yesterday, ending nine straight days of losses, led by Wall Street and sharp gains in the banking sector, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's Nikkei-225 average gained 59.79 points to end the day at 8,510.73, while the Topix index of all first section issues closed up 4.10 points at 831.92.

Volume was estimated at 656 million shares. Decliners led gainers 665 to 636, with 192 stocks unchanged.

Active short-covering emerged in the banking sector after a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun that the Financial Services Agency may not require banks receiving public fund injections to reduce the equity interest of shareholders, dealers said. But the market met strong upside resistance and was pushed off its highs due to lingering concerns over the trend of the Japanese economy.

(China Daily December 18, 2002)

Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
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