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Asian Markets Continue Winning Streak - 2003-06-13

Concerns over neighboring North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a high profile corporate scandal failed to dampen stock trading in Seoul this week.

On Friday, the KOSPI rose more than 1 percent, closing at 665, its highest close in six months.

This is the fourth consecutive week of gains in the KOSPI. The index has not sustained a rally this long since March of last year. The KOSPI is up 9 percent over the past four weeks.

Fung Kwok-on, a fund manager at Credit Agricole, in Hong Kong explains, saying "it's the liquidity from both local money and some foreign money coming back to Korea and the other reason may be related to expectations regarding second half of this year economic improvement. Economic recovery although may be not really strong, it still would recover from the first half or the second quarter."

Also on Friday, the head of South Korea's third largest conglomerate, SK Group, was sentenced to three years in prison for financial irregularities. But investors viewed the news as the start of a more transparent management of the company. Shares in the company jumped five percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average also gained for the fourth consecutive week. The Nikkei rose more than 2 percent this week, to close at 8,980 Friday, its highest finish this year.

Shares in Taiwan ended the day flat but were still at a four-month high of 4,881. The index is up nearly 3 percent from last Friday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose more than 1 percent Friday, reaching a five-month peak at 9,855. The Hang Seng is up 1.6 percent for the week.