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Asia Markets Close Lower This Week - 2002-05-24

Most Asian markets ended lower this week, with Hong Kong's property shares in particular taking a beating. Japan's Nikkei index, however, managed to surpass last Friday's close.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed at 11,976, up 1 percent from last Friday. Export-oriented shares rose after the Bank of Japan intervened this week to combat the rise in the yen's value. Toyota gained almost 4 percent Friday. Japanese exporters benefit from a weaker yen, which makes their goods cheaper overseas.

Peter Churchouse is a strategist with Morgan Stanley Asia. "In Japan, I think there is some sense we are going to see economic recovery, perhaps a little more than people were expecting a month or two ago, and I think that's playing into slightly improved prospects for the market," he said.

South Korea's Kospi index shed 2.4 percent this week, to 854 points. Still, some telecommunications and electronic shares rallied Friday.

S.K. Telecom rose by almost 4 percent on news that it is willing to take part in a share swap with fixed-line telecommunications provider KT.

In Taiwan, the Taiex ended 1.4 percent down from last Friday's close, at 5,706 points. A rally in technology stocks Friday erased some of the losses the market saw early in the week. Plus, some shares rose on news that China and Taiwan might resume talks to establish direct transport links across the Taiwan Strait.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell almost 3 percent from last week's close, ending at 11,626.

Mr. Churchouse said a ratings downgrade of major property companies earlier in the week hurt the Hong Kong market.