- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

TOKYO, Jan. 17 (UPI) — Stock prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange ended higher in active trading Friday, lifted by renewed hopes for realignment among financially weak companies.

The blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average, which eased 2.58 points Thursday, rose 81.08 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,690.25. The broader Topix Index, which added 0.64 points during the previous session, added 2.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 859.25.

Volume jumped to an estimated 941.69 million shares, its highest level since Dec. 13 and up from 824.70 million shares changing hands Thursday. Advances outpaced declines 720 to 639, while another 132 issues were unchanged.

Analysts said stocks rose as buying of low-priced stocks gained momentum on renewed hopes for realignment among financially weak companies after debt-laden contractor Hazama unveiled a revival plan.

Hazama's restructuring added fuel to reform hopes after the plans unveiled earlier in the week by struggling department store operator Seibu Department Stores. Hazama's plan includes a bailout from banks and the spin-off of its core construction business.

Investors opted to focus their attention on low-priced shares in companies that are expected to pay comparatively high dividends.

Traders said sentiment was also lifted by continued gains in bank stocks and speculation that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein may be ousted without a war.

In trading, debt-laden truckmaker Isuzu surged 16.3 percent. Hazama rocketed 50 percent higher. Among some of the other low-priced shares, real estate issues ended mostly higher. Mitsubishi Estate rose 5.8 percent, Mitsui Fudosan gained 6.3 percent and Sumitomo Realty and Development rose 5.7 percent.

Banks again attracted buying on short-covering in a continued reaction to Wednesday's news that Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group will procure funds from Goldman Sachs to speed up its disposal of bad loans. UFJ Holdings jumped 7.8 percent, Mizuho Holdings rose 2.7 percent, Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial added 2.1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial gained 1.4 percent.

Prices ended lower in moderate trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The blue-chip Hang Seng Index, which fell 130.26 points during the previous session, lost another 128.64 points, or 1.3 percent, to 9,614.59.

Rising crude oil prices hit Cathay Pacific Airways, dragging down the airline's shares by 2.2 percent. Fuel costs account for nearly 20 percent of Cathay's operating costs. China Southern Air lost 2.1 percent.

China Mobile dropped 2.5 percent, China Unicom closed unchanged.

Prices also ended lower on the South Korean Stock Exchange. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, which added 0.40 points during the previous session, lost 12.23 points, or 1.8 percent, to 636.46.

In trading, Samsung Electric lost 2.9 percent. The world's top memory chipmaker on Thursday posted fourth quarter net profit of $1.3 billion, sharply higher than the year-ago period. But the outcome failed to meet market forecasts.

Korea Electric Power lost 1.4 percent, pressured by higher oil prices.

Prices also ended lower on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The key Weighted Index, which lost 74.41 points during the previous session, slipped another 35.51 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,907.78, led lower by a 2.6 percent decline in China Steel.

Prices ended slightly lower on the Singapore Stock Exchange. The key Straits Times Index, which lost 7.10 points during the previous session, slipped another 12.69 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,366.83.

Elsewhere around the Pacific region, prices ended slightly lower in light trading on the Australian Stock Exchange despite gains in gold stocks. The blue-chip All Ordinaries Index, which lost 19.30 points during the previous session, eased 5.60 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,024.70.

Newcrest Mining rose 1.9 percent and Lihir Gold gained 1.4 percent but, News Corp. slipped 0.8 percent.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide