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Most Asian Markets End Week Higher - 2004-05-28


Most Asian markets were up this week due to declining oil prices and positive news on U.S. economic growth. But new government economic policies in India have chilled investor confidence and driven the market down this week.

As fuel prices fell, market shares climbed steadily throughout most of Asia. Overnight gains on Wall Street ensured a healthy bounce in Asian markets as they closed out the week.

Andy Xie is the chief Asia Economist at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. Mr. Xie says falling oil prices and better than expected economic news from Japan and the United States encouraged investors.

"They are reacting to some of the data that has come out," he said. "That is why we have a significant bump."

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index ended Friday at about 11,309, up two percent this week, partly on the strength of data released Friday showing Japan's economic recovery is continuing, with consumer spending and industrial output up and unemployment down.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished above 12,200, up over 500 points this week.

In India, the lead index hovered below the key 5,000 level, closing at 4,959, reflecting investor unease with the new government's economic policies.

The left-leaning ruling coalition government issued its agenda Thursday, indicating a slower rate of privatization for state industries and an increase in social spending. Market analysts say investors are concerned the new policies will inhibit India's rapid economic growth seen under the previous market-friendly government.

Markets in South Korea, Taiwan and Australia all closed slightly higher this week.

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