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East Asian Markets Mixed Friday - 2002-04-05

Tokyo stocks fell for a second day, with telecommunications shares registering the biggest drops. Analysts, however, say the economy has hit bottom.

The Benchmark Nikkei Average ended down 0.4 percent at 11,335. Telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone slid after loss warnings of more than $6 billion.

Mark Mathews Chief Strategist at Asia Pacific Standard and Poor's Institutional Market Services said that while Japan is in the process of bottoming out, industrial production will pick up due to an improvement in exports.

"Asia has benefited from this global recovery which is well on its way and we've seen that in the very good performance of markets from Thailand to Korea. I think we will start to see it increasingly in the Nikkei which, is a very export and technology-laden index," Mr. Mathews said.

Thailand, the regions best performer on Friday, saw its main stock index rising more than two percent closing at 370. New listing, Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services, surged 16 percent after debuting on Thursday, taking it to 140 percent above its initial public offering price.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index rose a fraction closing at 1,780, boosted by gains in Singapore Airlines and Singapore Telecommunications, as the Island State announced it would cut taxes.

Meanwhile holidays Friday in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea deprived the region of its most active markets.

South Korean stocks finished a volatile week Thursday amid intense labor negotiations - averting a major expansion of a five-week strike by power workers. The KOSPI edged down a little more than half a point to 918 - with a continued sell-off by foreign investors. Thursday saw Hong Kong's blue chip Hang Seng Index down after a week of thin trading to close 10,831.