- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

SINGAPORE, Feb. 17 (UPI) — Asian stocks posted gains throughout the region Monday, following in the footsteps of Wall Street's strong performance last Friday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 2 percent and the Nasdaq 2.56 percent, after a reassuring outlook from Dell Computer Corp.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average extended its Friday gains, adding another 0.8 percent to close at 8771.89. The market was supported by expectations the Bank of Japan might raise the limit for its stock-buying program. The government's new securities tax guidelines, including a lower rate of tax on stock investments, also appear to be attracting retail investors.

In Taiwan, the main index rose 4.7 percent to 4705.08, supported by strong interest in chipmakers. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing added 6.8 percent and United Microelectronics 6.7 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index added 4.63 percent at 601.87, supported by technology shares and a few blue chips. SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile carrier, rose 7.98 percent, while Samsung Electronics added 6.41 percent.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 2 percent at 9383.68, supported by the property sector. Wheelock, up 6.4 percent, announced it would sell its entire retail portfolio to family trusts linked to its Chairman Peter Woo. The move was taken as a sign the company may be taken private.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index closed up 2.2 percent at 1301.19, with banking shares leading the way ahead of the release of full-year data by the end of the month. DBS added 2 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. 3.5 percent and United Overseas Bank 1.9 percent.

In Malaysia the main index rose 0.36 percent at 659.33, while in Manila the main index added 0.1 percent to 1,034.76, breaking a three-day losing streak.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand was closed for the national Buddhist Maka Bucha Day.

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