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Most Asian Markets End Week Lower - 2003-10-31

Most Asian stock markets ended the week down on profit taking.

Shares in Taiwan fell one percent Friday, but electronics stocks ended the month with stellar performances.

Major Taiwanese semiconductor companies posted robust earnings for the July to September period. Quarterly profits for the world's largest chipmaker, TSMC, rose five-fold, and its stock price has risen more than 70 percent for the year.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange's electronics sub-index rose more than 14 percent for the month.

James Huang, an analyst at Sinopac Securities in Taipei, says the tech rally may continue in the next few months.

"Some shares have been moving very sharply over the past six months, especially the semiconductors shares, rising more than 50 percent," he said. "I think it definitely will have some short-term correction, but looking further into next year, I think the overall picture is still looks okay."

At the end of the week, the Taiwan index stands at 6,045.

Weak consumer spending data fueled selling of banking and retail stocks in Japan. The Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.25 percent to 10,559. Trading was slow ahead of a three-day holiday through Monday.

South Korean shares slipped 0.5 percent, ending a four-day winning streak. The KOSPI closed the week at 782.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was flat. But Manila's Phisix reached an 18-month high despite recent political crisis in the country. The Philippines main stock index stands at 1,399.