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Asian stock markets close mixed

December 31, 2008

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HONG KONG, Dec 30: Asia’s stock markets closed mixed on Tuesday as investors stayed away ahead of the new year holiday while some of the region’s indexes brought the curtain down on a punishing year.

Dealers waited in the wings before the next full week of trading, leading to light turnover and causing stocks to swing more rapidly.

By the end of the day Tokyo was up 1.28 percent, Sydney rose 0.9 percent and Seoul 0.6 per cent, while Taiwan leapt 3.91 percent. However, Hong Kong was down 0.7 per cent, Shanghai 0.95 per cent and Singapore 0.56 per cent.

Despite Japan’s Nikkei finishing the day up, it brought to a close a dreadful 12 months that saw the index lose more than 40 per cent of its value, its worst percentage point drop ever.

TOKYO: Japanese share prices closed 1.28 per cent up.

The Nikkei gained 112.39 points to close at 8.859.56 after a half day of trading.

The finish means the index was down 42.12 percent -- or 6,448.22 points -- from 2007, marking the worst annual percentage fall since it was established in 1949, as the global economic crisis hit hard.

The stock market reopens January 5.

In terms of points, the Nikkei suffered a steeper fall in 1990 with the end of the bubble economy, shedding 15,067.16 points or 38.71 per cent of its value.

HONG KONG: Share prices closed 0.7 per cent lower.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 92.98 points at 14,235.50.

Turnover was light at 26.38 billion Hong Kong dollars (3.38 billion US), the year’s second-lowest level after Monday’s 21.95 billion.

SYDNEY: Australian shares closed up 0.9 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 33.1 points to 3,654.2 while the broader All Ordinaries rose 37.3 points to 3,591.5.

A total of 663.47 million shares changed hands, worth 1.44 billion dollars (1 billion US).

SINGAPORE: Singapore shares closed 0.56 per cent lower.

The blue-chip Straits Times Index fell 9.92 points to 1,770.65 on volume of 665 million shares worth 539 million Singapore dollars (373 million US).

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares closed 1.6 per cent higher.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index gained 14.28 points to close at 881.63.

BAT gained 0.6 percent to 44.25 ringgit, Bumi-Commerce rose 1.7 per cent to 6.00 and IOI Corp added 2.3 per cent to 3.58.

JAKARTA: Indonesian shares ended 1.1 per cent higher.

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 14.52 points to 1,355.41.

The main index has fallen 51 percent since the start of the year.

Bank Rakyat rose 4 percent 4,575 rupiah, while coal miner Bukit Asam rose 2.2 percent to 6,900 rupiah.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed little changed.

The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 0.58 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 2,678.22.

Freightways closed up 18 cents at 3.17 dollars and Mainfreight put on 10 cents to 4.60.

Port of Tauranga was up 15 cents at 6.45.

Telecom finished three cents lower at 2.25 dollars, while Contact Energy advanced 10 cents to 7.24.

MUMBAI: Indian shares gained 1.92 per cent.

The benchmark 30-share Sensex index rose 182.64 points to 9,716.16.—AFP