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The Independent Online

The Ftse index at noon today stood at 6672.8, a rise of 26.8 since the start of the day's trading.

The Ftse index at noon today stood at 6672.8, a rise of 26.8 since the start of the day's trading.

Most Asian stock markets closed higher Thursday, while the Seoul market plummeted on a sell-off in telecommunication stocks.

Tokyo's benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 18.46 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,514.41 points. On Wednesday, the average closed down 62.28 points, or 0.34 percent.

In Seoul, shares prices plunged 3.1 percent as investors dumped shares to cash in on recent gains in the telecommunications sector.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index tumbled 31.26 points to 967.90.

Hong Kong share prices closed higher on expectations of a blue-chip company deal that was announced after the market close. A strong rally in property stocks also boosted the benchmark index.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 180.52 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 15,603.04.

Elsewhere:

BANGKOK: Thai share prices fell. The Composite Index finished down 3.40 points, or 0.8 percent, at 419.67.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares ended virtually unchanged. The Composite Index slipped a marginal 0.05 point to 732.82.

JAKARTA: Indonesia's key index ended marginally higher. The Composite Index ended up 0.868 points, or 0.1 percent, at 598.409.

MANILA: Philippine shares ended sharply lower on concerns over the country's political risks, heightened by a morning grenade attack on the Manila office of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index dropped 30 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,953.01.

SINGAPORE: Share prices on Singapore's key index closed higher. The Straits Times Index rose 18.67 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,227.30.

SYDNEY: Australian shares rose, boosted by gains in the resources sector and select industrial and finance issues. The All Ordinaries index rose 36.3 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,074.0.

TAIPEI: Taiwan's key index edged higher on expectations of better-than-expected earnings reports expected in the next several days. The Weighted Price Index gained 40.06 points, or 0.52 percent, to end at 7,806.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares inched up, supported by a sharp rise in market heavyweight Telecom Corp. of New Zealand Ltd. The NZSE-40 capital index closed 3.06 points, or 0.1 percent, higher at 2,101.25.

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