Asian stocks higher

Published January 4, 2006

HONG KONG, Jan 3: Asian stocks closed higher on Tuesday, picking up from where they left off in 2005 as several markets — Seoul, Sydney and Mumbai — put in another record performance, dealers said.

They said trade was modest as investors returned from the New Year break and given Wall Street’s closure but the strong underlying tone continued in place, reflecting investor optimism that more gains are likely this year.

A spike in oil prices did nothing to dampen sentiment, with most investors already looking ahead to cheaper energy costs in the second quarter with the ending of the northern hemisphere winter.

SEOUL: South Korean share prices closed 0.4 per cent higher on strong retail investor support, extending their record-breaking run for a third session, dealers said.

Samsung Electronics rose 6,000 won to 665,000 and Hynix added 500 won to 38,100.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong share prices closed 0.46 per cent higher on bargain-hunting following falls in early trade when the market sought direction on its first trading day this year, dealers said.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 68.34 points at 14,944.77, off a high of 14,945.05 and a low of 14,843.97. Turnover was (US$2.16 billion).

SYDNEY: Australian share prices started the new year with yet another record performance, adding 0.26 per cent on strong demand for resource stocks, dealers said.

BHP Billiton closed up 0.43 at a record high of 23.18 dollars. Rio Tinto added 0.90 to 69.90 after hitting a record 70.06 during trading.

SINGAPORE: Singapore share prices closed 0.94 per cent higher, the first trading day of the new year, with gains seen in most blue chips after stronger-than-expected economic data, dealers said.

Blue chips were the clear gainers with Singapore Airlines jumping 0.30 to 12.70 dollars and Singapore Telecom up 0.02 to 2.63.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian share prices closed 0.77 per cent lower Tuesday on selling of selected blue chips by institutional funds, dealers said.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 6.94 points to 892.85. Losers led gains 482 to 224, with 246 stocks unchanged on volume of 499.75 million shares, worth 294 million ringgit (78 million dollars).

JAKARTA: Indonesian share prices closed 1.11 per cent higher, led by index heavyweights such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Mandiri and driven by December’s inflation slowdown, dealers said.

Telkom rose 50 rupiah to 6,150, extending Monday’s gains following news it has received compensation from the government for ending its monopoly rights over national call services.

MUMBAI: Indian share prices rose 1.59 per cent for another record finish on large foreign fund buying in blue chips, with the benchmark index breaking through the crucial 9,500 points level, dealers said.

The Mumbai stock exchange’s 30-share Sensex rose 149.23 points to 9,539.37, just off the high of 9,546.78.—AFP

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