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Most Asian Markets Experience Gains


Most Asian stock markets rose Friday, encouraged by upbeat U.S. employment data. But political uncertainty clouded some markets' performance this week.

Hong Kong stocks rebounded Friday, after tumbling more than two percent Thursday on profit taking.

Louis So, a fund manager at Value Partners in Hong Kong, says investors are still optimistic about China-related stocks, as seen in two recent public share offerings that attracted massive interest.

"I think most of the U.S. and European investors are still quite bullish about China, and liquidity flow is still quite strong and is expected to be strong [in]one or two months," he said.

The Hang Seng Index ended the week at 12,190, slightly up from last week's close.

Japanese stocks also rebounded three quarters of a percent. The Nikkei 225 index stands at 10,628, up just more than 0.5 percent for the week.

Foreign buying helped boost South Korean and Taiwan stocks on Friday, and they both finished the week higher. In Seoul, the Kospi climbed nearly three percent to end the week at 804 points, while Taiwan's main stock index finished the week up 11 points, at 6,056.

Sri Lanka's stock market bounced back Friday from a deep fall earlier in the week because of political turmoil. Stocks gained more than 12 percent after President Chandrika Kumaratunga lifted a state of emergency in the country.

Prasanna Chandrasekera, an analyst at John Keels Stockbrokers in Colombo says investors are worried about the political crisis.

"People are definitely taking positions in the market with this uncertainty created with the change of the political climate here, and expecting some good news to come out as well," he said.

Political uncertainty also dampened a rally in Philippine stocks this week. The Phisix slipped from an 18-month high with investors concerned of the outcome of a government crisis. The Phisix closed at 1,413.

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