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Asian Markets End Week Mixed - 2001-08-03


Asian stock markets ended the week with mixed fortunes Friday.

Japan's Nikkei-225 lost nearly 1.5 percent Friday, as weak earnings reports and more bad news from Japan's beleaguered banks dampened investor sentiment.

Nine Japanese banks said they made no headway in resolving their bad loans, even after receiving billions of dollars in government bailout money. That sent shares of industry giant Mizuho Holdings plunging 5.5 percent.

Basil Masters, a fund manager with Credit Agricole Asset Management in Tokyo, says investors were disappointed by the news. "The market is extremely concerned about the number of bad loans on the banks' books, particularly, how these loans are classified," he says. "So, as you can see, banks have a lot of uncertainty associated with them, and that's the reason why the banking sector has been (seen) one of the worst performances this year."

Taiwan's stock exchange continued to rise for the seventh straight day, adding one percent by the close of trade Friday. High tech shares were boosted on hopes that demand for computer memory chips will soon pick up.

In South Korea, the KOSPI finished at a fresh four-week high. Major chipmakers like Samsung Electronics, Hynix Semiconductor posted gains, and the market closed up at 568.

Uncertainty over U.S. job data and local corporate earnings due out next week subdued market trading in Hong Kong, with the Hang Seng index closing down 1.5 percent.

Stocks in the Philippines closed at a nine-month low Friday. Heavy selling of blue chip stocks, like Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, led the market, down one percent.

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