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Weak Wall Street Performance Impacts Asian Stocks - 2003-06-20


Most major stock markets in Asia fell Friday, slowing the pace after last week's rally. A weak performance by Wall Street overnight weighed on the region's stock trading.

Gloomy news of a slower pick-up in U.S. manufacturing along with several profit warnings greeted Asian stock markets when they opened for trading Friday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent Friday, following Wall Street's cue.

Peter Lai, the head of research of OCBC Securities, says some investors are taking profits before Hong Kong releases its economic figures in July, which are expected to be bad, due to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

"In the short-term trading, it is news oriented. The performance of the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq give indications in our market, so I believe that in the coming week, the market would remain choppy," he said.

Australia ended its 9-day winning streak Friday, losing nearly 0.5 percent, led by News Corp, AMP and major banks, companies with substantial interests overseas.

The ASX-200 settled at 3089. Analysts say investors are closely monitoring the U.S. market, especially next week's meeting of the Federal Reserve.

Taiwan fell nearly 1 percent, with the weighted index closing at 5,002. The index is up more than 2 percent for the week.

South Korea ended lower by about 0.5 percent, dragged down by a slump in the stock price of Samsung Electronics. The KOSPI closed at 686, up 3 percent for the week.

But Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Stock Average was slightly up Friday at 9120. The Japanese market continued on its 5th straight week of gains. The Nikkei index has climbed 20 percent since falling to a two-decade low in April.