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Most Asian Markets End Down Friday - 2002-07-26


After a roller-coaster week, most Asian markets ended down on Friday after the technology stocks in the United States took a beating. Chip makers and other exporters led the downward spiral in Asia.

Market analysts say investors throughout the region are selling off shares and growing increasingly wary of the United States' fragile markets.

South Korea's Kospi index took the worst beating this week, ending 7.6 percent below last week's close. The Kospi shed more than three percent on Friday alone, falling to 697. Foreign investors dumped Korean shares for the third day in a row.

Taiwan's main share index was down nearly six percent from last Friday, finishing at 4,855. Part of the problem was bad news from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world's largest contract chipmaker, which gave a discouraging third-quarter outlook. News that the country's economic indicators rose for the ninth consecutive month was not enough to stem the selling.

Equities analyst Jahanzeb Naseer at HSBC Investment Banking in Hong Kong said the Asian markets could recover some of their losses next week. He said, however, that much relies on the United States market and investor confidence around the world.

"In terms of a sustained rally I don't think that's likely unless we see the U.S. market post sustainable gains. If there's a global meltdown that we're seeing then all markets are going to fall, the only question is which markets are going to fall more than the others. You can find relative safe havens but in absolute terms it's very difficult to hide," Mr. Nasser said.

Tokyo and Hong Kong's main share indexes remain below the key 10,000 point level.

Hong Kong closed at 9,773, more than five percent down from a week ago. Selling on Friday erased a modest rally during the middle of the week.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei finished at 9,591, almost six percent down from a week ago. That is its lowest level since February and brings the index near an 18-year low.

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