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Asian Markets Close Lower Friday - 2001-09-14

Stock markets across Asia closed mostly lower Friday, still reeling from the devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Japan was one of the region's few bright spots.

Japanese stocks ended with a 4 percent gain to close above 10,000, though the Tokyo Stock Exchange remained on reduced hours with trading curbs to keep market activity under control.

Volume was thin and many investors remained on the sidelines, unsure of the longer-term impact of the tragic events in the United States.

Stock watcher Desmond Supple from Barclays Capital notes that the Japanese economy is already ailing, and a drop in U.S. consumer demand could easily push it into a deep recession. "It is extremely problematic in the sense that the economy has no ability to withstand an additional external shock," he said. "If you are talking about an economy already entering recession, any downturn in global growth will really add to that downside risk so the problem in Japan is that the external shock in the United States has really magnified the pain the economy will be facing in the short term."

Elsewhere in Asia, the mood was grim, with investors profoundly unnerved by the terrorist incidents.

In South Korea, the KOSPI lost more than 3 percent Friday, its fourth losing session this week. Samsung Electronics fell more than 1 percent and Hynix Semiconductor shed a staggering 14.6 percent.

Taiwanese blue chips also closed down 4.5 percent to an 8 year low. The market has lost $12 billion in market value since the terrorist attacks Tuesday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index managed to close slightly higher, but the market lost 7 percent during the week. Airline Cathay Pacific closed down more than 2 percent. On Thursday, the carrier canceled all of its flight to North America.

In Singapore, stocks fell for the third day in a row, finishing down 3 percent. Chipmaker Chartered Semiconductor closed with a loss of nearly 3 percent.