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Asian Markets End Week Quietly - 2001-11-02


Asian stock markets traded quietly Friday, with investors mulling over local economic data and keeping an eye on Wall Street stock action.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose slightly Friday to close at 10,383. It was the first positive close in six sessions.

Investors in Japan are wary of the nation's troubled economy. Unemployment stands at a post-war high of 5.3 percent and is expected to rise as companies announce further layoffs. The Nikkei has lost almost 30 percent of its value this year.

Yuji Nakamura is a senior strategist at Shinko Investment Trust Management. He told Japan's TV Tokyo that the stock market could rebound early next year. He said January will mark a turning point for the Nikkei. He added that many companies have strong underlying fundamentals and government economic policies will eventually help the corporate sector.

Among the week's top performers was TDK, a manufacturing and electronics company. It scored its biggest rally in two months after beating its quarterly profit target. The stock rose 12 percent Friday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged higher, tacking on a quarter percent to 10,186. Banking giant HSBC rose 1.5 percent, providing a boost to the blue chip index.

In both Taiwan and South Korea, chip makers helped lift the markets. Industry reports say Asian semiconductor sales in September were better than in previous months, and that has lifted hopes for a recovery in the sector.

In Taiwan, chip maker United Microelectronics surged 7 percent while South Korea's Samsung Electronics rose more than 2 percent.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index lost almost 0.5 percent to end at 1,341, its fifth day of losses in a row. Datacraft Asia, a network communications company, surprised the market Friday when it issued a profit warning. Its stock lost 13 percent.

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