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Tokyo closes flat, Asia weakens

30/06/2003 15:42
Japan closed flat but other Asian markets weakened Monday as investors ruled off their books for June. Seoul was down sharply.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average ended just 0.06 percent higher at 9109.56. That followed its 2 percent jump last Friday.

The broader Topix index put on 0.04 percent at 903.44.

One of the big movers was leading chipmaker Fujitsu, after it confirmed a tieup with phone giant Nokia of Finland. Shares in Fujitsu finished almost 7 percent higher. (Full story)

NEC and Toshiba were also up strongly as a weaker yen lifted prospects for Japanese exporters. The dollar was trading at 119.62 yen late in the Asian day.

In South Korea, the Kospi finished down more than 1 percent. Singapore fell 2 percent while Hong Kong was down 0.8 percent. Taiwan managed to put on about 0.1 percent.

Australia gave up 0.75 percent, while New Zealand's market showed considerable strength, up more than 1.8 percent.

Among key Japanese stocks, consumer electronics leader Sony was up 0.9 percent to 3370 yen, Toshiba was ahead 4.8 percent to 413 yen and NEC surged more than 7.5 percent higher to 600 yen.

A report Monday in the Nihon Keizai business daily said NEC had developed a long-life fuel cell for PCs.

Among automakers, Toyota finished 5 percent higher at 3120 yen and Nissan was up 1.5 percent to 1148 yen. But Honda gave up early gains to finish in the red, down 0.2 percent.

Japan Airlines ended 2.3 percent higher to 262 yen.

The market's biggest stock, mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo, finished flat at 262,000 yen, while parent NTT dropped 2.5 percent to 469,000 yen. Rivals KDDI and Japan Telecom were both slightly in the red.

Big banks were mainly higher, with UFJ up 5.4 percent to 176,000 yen and Mizuho 1.7 percent ahead to 94,900 yen.

In Seoul, the Kospi closed 1.09 percent lower at 669.93 as strike action continued in South Korea. (Full story)

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics was down 1.7 percent to 355,000 won, while big exporter Hyundai Motor lost 2 percent to 31,600 won.

Leading bank Shinhan was a rare gainer, up 1.2 percent higher to 12,450 won.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 finished down 0.75 percent to 3025.8, disappointing investors looking for an end of financial year rally.

The market's biggest stock, News Corp, was off 0.7 percent to A$11.20 after shareholders in its New Zealand unit INL approved the sale of its newspaper assets to rival Fairfax. (Full story)

Resources leader BHP Billiton was 0.7 percent lower to A$8.64. Big telco Telstra dropped 0.9 percent to A$4.40.

Insurer and funds manager AMP slipped below A$5.00 again, down 1 percent to A$4.97.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished down 0.83 percent to 9577.12 as the market digested the implications of Hong Kong's new free trade agreement with China. (Full story)

HSBC was 0.8 percent lower, China Mobile also lost about 0.8 percent and PCCW was down 2.5 percent to HK$4.82. Esprit Holdings jumped 4 percent to HK$19.35.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index dipped sharply, losing 2.02 percent to end at 1,447.89.

United Overseas Bank lost 3.1 percent to S$12.40. Singapore Airlines ended down almost 1 percent at S$10.40.

Taiwan's Taiex lost early gains to finish 0.12 percent lower at 4872.15. Market leader TSMC was again flat at T$57.00. Rival chip foundry UMC was down 1.3 percent to T$22.30.

New Zealand's Top 50 jumped 1.84 percent to 2212.51, its biggest one-day gain since November 13, 2001.

Telecom NZ, the market's biggest stock, was up 1.75 percent to NZ$5.24 and No. 2 stock Carter Holt Harvey finished 3.5 percent higher to NZ$1.79.