Asian markets recover slightly, investors cautious

October 17th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Oct 17 (DPA) Key stock markets across Asia edged upwards Friday, recovering slightly from record drops earlier this week, as investors cautiously ventured back into the market after a surge on Wall Street.Indexes around the region see-sawed between small gains and losses, as investors reacted to mixed signals from Asia’s economies.

Tokyo stocks climbed Friday after an overnight surge on Wall Street to end trading up almost 3 per cent as investors bought back shares battered by the previous day’s losses.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 235.37 points, or 2.78 percent, to close at 8,693.82. Tokyo’s broader Topix index of all first-section issues also gained 29.77 points, or 3.44 percent, to 894.29.

The recovery came after Japan’s benchmark index plunged 11.41 percent Thursday.

Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng index was unsteady, down 4.9 points, or 0.03 percent to 15,255.55 after earlier minuscule gains.

Investors in China were equally cautious, with the Shanghai Composite index which tracks shares traded in local and foreign currencies up 0.16 percent to 1,913.05. The Shenzhen Component index was up 0.82 percent to 6,217.31.

The Taiex index in Taiwan fell 115.57 points, or 2.28 per cent, to 4,960.4.

South Korea’s KOSPI index also tended downwards by 2.73 percent to 1,180.67, a three-year-low, on concerns over bank funding, with financial stocks accounting for most of the decline.

Stocks in Singapore were among those recording modest gains, with the Straits Times index up 0.32 percent to 1,957.47, after plunging more than five percent the previous day.

Thai shares were up 1.97 per cent in afternoon, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index rose 9.43 points to 487.16, while in Indonesia, the Jakarta Composite index was down 2.62 percent to 1,424.89.

Philippine shares lost ground before the weekend, dropping 24.11 points, or 1.14 percent, to 2,098.26.

Australian stocks gave up early gains Friday, closed down 1.06 percent after gaining 2.8 percent on the bell. The ASX 200 index eventually gave up 42 points to 4,3970.

Macquarie Bank economist Lucinda Chan said the reality of a global downturn was weighing on stocks, particularly those backed by commodities.

The New Zealand stock market bounced back by 1.59 percent as investors snapped up bargains after share prices fell by 5 percent the previous day.

But it was a nervous recovery, with the benchmark NZX 50 index losing ground in the afternoon, ending the day 44 points up at 2808.76.

US stocks surged Thursday after a steep dive a day earlier amid ongoing fears of a global recession. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 4.68 percent in a late rally, partly on the back of falling oil prices.

The gains were spurred in part by news that inflation had held steady in September, making further interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve more likely.

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