Foreign Market Wrap

Asian investors sloughed off Wall Street's poor performance to send Japan's Nikkei 225 index further above the 18,000 mark Friday and push Australia's S&P/ASX 200 to a second straight record performance, but Sanyo Electric Co.'s shares plunged on news of a government investigation.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 79.63 points, or 0.44 percent, to finish at 18,188.42 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 97.58 points, or 0.5 percent, to 20,711.65.

Traders said stocks advanced on expectation that the market will move in a positive direction after Wednesday's rate hike by Japan's central bank erased market uncertainty.

Real estate, shipping stocks closed higher, as did a segment of exporter blue chips on a weaker yen against the dollar.

Losers included Sanyo Electric Co., which plunged 20.96 percent to 181 yen (US$1.50) on a news report that the company is under investigation by Japan's securities authorities over suspected earnings window dressing.


BANGKOK: Thai shares dropped 0.4 percent to end at 690.76, amid profit-taking in banking shares.

JAKARTA: Indonesia shares fell 16.89 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 1,791.55 in moderate volume trade, as a technical correction in bellwether Telekomunikasi Indonesia and mining shares weighed on the index.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares added 0.5 percent to close at a new year high of 1,283.47, despite the benchmark index languishing in negative territory for most of the day.

MANILA: Philippine shares rose as the market continued to attract investors seeking better returns after treasury bill yields hit record lows earlier in the week. The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index advanced 23.84 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,389.37.

MUMBAI: Indian shares fell sharply, dragged by banking and cement shares on fears the government may announce further anti-inflationary measures in the Union Budget for the next financial year, due Wednesday. The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-stock Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 2.8 percent, or 388.78 points, at 13,632.53.

SEOUL: South Korean stocks extended their gains to close at a new record high, led by brokerage stocks and builders. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, rose 4.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,469.88.

SINGAPORE: Singaporean shares rose to a record high, led by strong performances by technology stocks after the Nasdaq rallied overnight. The benchmark Straits Times Index climbed 21.59 points, or 0.65 percent, to finish at 3,310.44.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand's stocks broke a five-day losing streak as investors welcomed blue-chip power firm Contact Energy's investment plans, although brokers warned the market could succumb to more profit-taking next week. The benchmark NZX-50 rose 30.5 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,120.31.

SYDNEY: Australian stocks ended the week at record highs, with resources providing momentum to keep the market moving upward. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 19 points, or 0.32 percent, to 6,036.1, beating Thursday's record close.

With files from wire services