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Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
Hang Seng Up on Blue Chips

Share prices in Hong Kong closed slightly higher yesterday with late bargain-hunting in select blue chip stocks helping to lift the index into positive territory, dealers said.

The key Hang Seng index gained 9.21 points or 0.1 percent to close at 9,557.86 on trade of HK$5.74 billion (US$737 million).

"The afternoon session continued to be driven more by individual stocks with stories of their own. Elsewhere in the market there was little going on," Peter Lai, associate director at OCBC Securities, said.

Lai said the Hang Seng index was likely to stay at around 9,400-500 points for the time being.

However, the uncertainties surrounding Iraq could still force the benchmark index below those levels, with a fresh wave of bargain-hunting likely at 9,300 points, he added.

Taiwan Shares Close Higher

Taiwan share prices closed up 0.3 percent yesterday amid portfolio adjustments by fund managers ahead of the year-end, dealers said.

The weighted index closed up 13.30 points at 4,549.23, off a low of 4,480.98 and a high of 4,592.12, on turnover of NT$85.32 billion (US$2.4 billion).

The market opened weaker after Wall Street's decline and Standard and Poor's downgrade of Taiwan's sovereign ratings, but non-electronics stocks attracted funds seeking safe havens, driving the index higher later in the session, according to dealers.

Electronics continued weaker on the uncertain industry outlook after an a weak North American November book-to-bill ratio, they added.

Nikkei Up in Thin Trading

Japanese share prices rebounded 0.5 percent yesterday on mild short covering in thin pre-Christmas trade after recent declines that brought the Nikkei-225 average near to new 19-year lows, dealers said.

The headline index on Tokyo's Stock Exchange rose 43.56 points to end the day at 8,387.57. The broader Topix index of all first section issues picked itself up from a fresh 18-year low recorded the previous day to gain 7.15 points to 822.89.

"Other than some buy backs (of oversold stocks) there was no particular reason for the rebound," said Hajime Yagi, senior portfolio manager for Meiji Dresdner Asset Management.

(China Daily December 20, 2002)

Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
Roundup: Stocks in East Asia
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