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Asian Stocks Higher Following US Market Rally - 2002-08-09

Most Asian stock markets ended the week higher Friday, encouraged by the rally in the U.S. market over the past three days.

Asian markets followed the U.S. markets higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the main U.S. stock index, has gained more than 660 points in three days.

Tokyo, Asia's largest share market, ended with a gain of more than 2 percent, closing at 99,999.

Trading was thin ahead of the "Bon" summer holiday week in Japan. Automotive stocks were among the best performers, helped by a weakening yen, which makes their exports less expensive.

Economy Minister Heizo Takenaka also helped boost the mood on Tokyo's trading floors. While he says there is growing uncertainty over the world economy and Japan's economy requires careful monitoring, he notes that the slump in U.S. stocks is not having a major effect on Japan's markets.

Elsewhere in Asia, Seoul's Kospi index rose 1.2 percent to 692, its best level in a week. Steelmaker POSCO led the market on news that its July earnings were excellent.

Taiwan stocks rose 3.2 percent, to 4,851. Bank and computer shares were among the day's top performers.

In Hong Kong, shares of financial group HSBC rose more than two percent. The International Monetary Fund says it will lend $30-billion to Brazil. HSBC has invested heavily in that nation's ailing economy.

Australian market heavyweight News Corp. rose more than 3 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose nearly one percent to 3,106.

Singapore's stock market was closed Friday for a holiday.