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Asian Stocks End Week Higher - 2003-07-11


Stocks in Asia rallied during the week, but fell back somewhat by Friday on profit taking and a decline on Wall Street that followed disappointing U.S. employment data.

Taiwan's main share index continued to climb this week after pushing through the psychologically important 5,000 point level for the first time in a year.

The Taiex has gained about 15 percent since the start of the year. It closed Friday at 5,239, almost 100 points up for the week.

Jahanzeb Naseer, an equity analyst with the investment arm of HSBC bank, says the crossing of the 5,000 point level last week indicated a return of confidence in the island's tech-heavy market.

"That was the level that a lot of people were looking at to make up their mind that they were firmly above a key resistance level in that market," he said. "We've seen it on the back of large semiconductor and technology stocks like TSMC, UMC, Micron, most of them are up 50 percent of more."

Mr. Naseer said data showing that U.S. corporate spending on technology was making a comeback had boosted tech stocks in Asia.

He also said profit-taking late in the week following rallies in Manila, Taiwan and Japan was to be expected ahead of the summer holiday period.

In Tokyo, Japan's main share index gained almost one percent over the week, finishing at 9,635. The market had been up considerably higher, but shed most of the week's gains Friday, with selling of Internet stocks leading to a drop of more than seven percent. Analysts say that Yahoo Japan and Softbank led the declines after their U.S. counterparts fell overnight.

Manila's main share index closed Friday at 1,270, a small advance of six points for the week. The index hit a 13-month high on Tuesday, but then fell back by almost 2.5 percent on Wednesday. Analysts say a bomb attack by Muslim extremists in the Southern Philippines that killed three people on Thursday had little effect on the market.

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