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Asian stocks edge up on currency relief

japan stock board
Stocks dropped at the open in Tokyo but recovered throughout the day, with Korea roaring back in afternoon trade  

HONG KONG, China -- Asian stocks gained Tuesday, focusing on a respite from stronger Asian currencies rather than Monday's bad day on Wall Street.

Japan's broad Topix index scored a modest rise, up 0.04 percent to 1029.05. But the Nikkei 225, which tracks tech stocks, climbed 0.25 percent to 10,622.32.

Korean stocks fired ahead almost 0.5 percent. Taiwan gained more than that.

There were Asian losers, with Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong all falling. Singapore is trading lower in late afternoon.

But Asian markets generally brushed off a 4.1 percent collapse on Nasdaq (full U.S. roundup).

Not a tremendous dive

"It is not a tremendous dive in the U.S. equity market, it's just a technical thing," an analyst at Bank of America told CNN. "WorldCom and also other issues have been digested somehow in the last few days."

Japanese chip- and electronics makers were unable to shake the spillover from Nasdaq but Samsung rose in Seoul
Japanese chip- and electronics makers were unable to shake the spillover from Nasdaq but Samsung rose in Seoul  

The currency markets twitched on Tuesday, watching for the next intervention from the Bank of Japan (full story).

Toyota Motor Co. rose 0.96 percent, closing at 3170 yen. But President Fujio Cho told reporters the yen is a cause for concern (full story).

The yen stood at 120.42 near the close of Tokyo trade. Japan confirmed Haruhiko Kuroda will stay on as its top foreign-exchange official.

Sony Corp., a major exporter that saw its stock suffer from Monday's strong tankan, arrested its losses to close flat at 6190 yen.

The Korean won also softened against the dollar, and stood at 1,205.7 from Kookmin Bank in Seoul.

Chip stocks lower

Most Asian currency experts cite the dollar's weakness for the yen's surge. But Japanese businesses have factored in a yen at 125.73 to the dollar for this business year.

Exports will take a hit if the yen remains strong. Chipmakers such as Toshiba, down 1.23 percent to 483 yen, and NEC, down 0.85 percent to 821, also sank after Nasdaq's fall.

Korean stocks did not. The Kospi closed up 0.47 percent to 746.86, staging a strong afternoon rally.

Korea's markets were closed Monday for a holiday in honor of the soccer World Cup.

Chipmaker Samsung Electronics rose 2.5 percent to 337,500 won. Seoul's largest listing has seen strong overseas interest in 2002.

Hynix limit up again

Rival chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor rose the daily 15 percent limit for the third trading day in a row, to close at 295 won. Management is attempting to rescue the company.

Hyundai Motor Co. climbed 4.3 percent to 37,700 won. It reported an increase in first-half sales.

In Taiwan, the Taiex rose 0.52 percent to 4995.08. Institutional investors speculated that government funds had stepped in to buy stock.

Banks up in Taiwan

Bank stocks rose 2.21 percent. But the Tapei market's main driver, the electronics subindex, fell 0.8 percent.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. dropped 1.49 percent to T$66.00.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 0.49 percent to 3212.1. The Australian market has tended to track U.S. markets in 2002.

News Corp. is Sydney's largest listing, and gets most of its sales in the United States. It fell 3.7 percent to A$10.04.

Retailer Woolworths gave up 2.4 percent to A$12.60, investors not taking to its price-earnings ratio of 28 after its run this year.

Telecom New Zealand props Kiwi market

In New Zealand, the Top 40 fell 0.11 percent to 2,069.50. Telecom New Zealand put the brakes on the market with a 1.2 percent climb to NZ$5.08.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished down 1.01 percent to 10,491.76. Big cap stocks bore the brunt of the U.S. selloff.

In China, China Eastern stock lifted on the domestic A share market. China said it would ease restrictions on overseas ownership of airlines and airports (full story).

Singapore's Straits Times index is down 0.46 percent at 1543.20 in late afternoon trade, with techs selling off.




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