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Investors Focus on Positive as Asian Markets End Week Higher - 2003-10-03


Markets in Asia ended the week higher as investors focused on positive signs from the United States and elsewhere.

Stocks in Asia continued to rise despite a mixture of positive and disappointing economic data from the United States, one of the largest importers of Asian goods.

One analyst says investors are eager not to miss rising share prices as business sentiment in Asia improves.

Nilish Gasani is an equities analyst with the investment banking arm of HSBC in Hong Kong.

"So as long as we receive positive news on the economic growth front, I think the current rally has legs to carry on for quite a while," he said.

Taiwan's Taiex index rose 1.7 percent this week to end Friday at 5,747.

Mr. Gasani says that while many Taiwanese technology firms are performing well, banking, petrochemical and real estate shares also fueled the benchmark's gains this week.

After a third day of gains, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed Friday at 10,571, 3.7 percent above last Friday's close. Traders say the market rallied on gains by blue chips such as Toyota and DoCoMo.

However, investment analyst Mr. Gasani says the Nikkei's rally is not likely to last when investors realize Japan's economic growth is weaker than predicted and that deflation is continuing.

"I think we certainly feel investors are going to turn more realistic about the Japanese recovery very soon," he said. "We feel that nominal GDP growth is certainly not improving sufficiently enough. All the good numbers that we are seeing on real GDP side are because of the deflator moving which is not really positive as far as companies go."

Hong Kong's main share index finished the week about 2.5 percent higher Friday.

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