HONG KONG, Aug 4: Asian stocks closed modestly lower on Thursday with profit taking pushing many markets off multi-year highs amid concerns over an interest rate hike in the US, dealers said. They said the US Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates by another 25 basis points to 3.50 per cent next week and this could prompt further rate rises among the Asian countries which tend to follow the US.

TOKYO: share prices closed 0.82 per cent lower as investors locked in profits after recent sharp gains and with political concerns over postal reform weighing on sentiment.

The fall came a day after the Nikkei index breached the 12,000 level intra-day for the first time in more than 15 months and as Wall Street hit 4-year highs on the back of strong US consumer spending figures.

The Nikkei-225 index dropped 98.49 points at 11,883.31.

Toyota Motor slipped 30 yen to 4,250. Among other Toyota group companies, truckmaker Hino fell 22 yen to 665 and minivehicle maker Daihatsu was down 15 yen or 1.5 per cent at 996.

HONG KONG: Share prices closed flat as investors turned to focus on the prospect of higher interest rates ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting next week.

Among financial stocks, HSBC was up 0.10 at 127.90 and Hang Seng Bank was up 0.20 at 107.60 although Bank of East Asia fell 0.30 at 23.70.

SYDNEY: Share prices closed 0.11 per cent higher as the market was buoyed by positive profit releases and brighter outlooks for the year ahead.

The SP/ASX 200 index closed up 4.9 points at 4,373.7. A total of 1.16 billion shares were traded worth 3.570 billion dollars (2.71 billion US).

SINGAPORE: Share prices closed 0.12 per cent lower as profit-taking hit blue chips including Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) after its quarterly results and property stocks.

Index heavyweight SingTel was among the top losers, finishing four cents lower at 2.78 despite reporting a rise of almost 14 per cent in net profits for the June quarter.

KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices closed 0.77 per cent lower as investors locked in profits following Wednesday’s solid gains.

Petronas Gas was flat at 8.45, after gaining earlier in thin trade on news that it expects to post higher earnings in the current year to March.

JAKARTA: Share prices closed 0.58 per cent lower on profit-taking amid concerns over lower profits for 2005 following a government hike in industrial fuel prices this week.

The composite index closed down 6.876 points at 1,185.327 on volume of 1.98 billion shares worth 3.65 trillion rupiah (374.16 million dollars ).

WELLINGTON: Share prices closed 0.15 per cent higher with a sharp rise in Telecom ahead of its annual results offsetting a mixed performance in the broader market.

The NZSX-50 gross index rose 4.99 points to 3,354.05 on turnover of US$98.3 million.

MUMBAI: Share prices closed at an eighth straight record high as overseas funds bought invested in benchmark index companies.—AFP

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