Today's markets

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The Independent Online

The FTSE had risen 92.4 points to 6323.8 at Noon today.

The FTSE had risen 92.4 points to 6323.8 at Noon today.

Asian stock markets ended the week generally higher today, but the key index in Tokyo fell on profit-taking.

The Japanese benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average slipped 23.85 points, or 0.16 percent, to 14,696.51. On Thursday, the average closed down 169.01 points, or 1.14 percent.

Investors sold technology stocks in response to earnings alarms sounded on Wall Street by U.S. industry leaders Motorola Inc. and Intel Corp.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section ended down 2.69 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,365.48. The TOPIX closed down 12.88 points, or 0.94 percent, the day before.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was quoted at 110.62 yen, up 0.24 yen from Thursday in Tokyo but slightly lower than its overnight level of 110.64 yen in New York.

In Hong Kong, share prices closed higher on bargain hunting.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 177.81 points, or 1.18 percent, closing at 15,189.33. On Thursday, the index had lost 87.43 points, or 0.6 percent.

Brokers attributed the rise to bargain hunting in telecom and property stocks, which have fallen sharply recently.

The Hong Kong market shrugged off Thursday's declines on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average lost 47.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,617.36.

The Nasdaq composite index closed down 43.85 points, or 1.6 percent, at 2,752.65.

South Korean shares also closed higher, boosted by the rise in telecommunication stocks. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 11.03 points, or 2.1 percent, to 534.81.

Elsewhere:

TAIPEI: Taiwan shares closed higher as prospects of mergers in the troubled banking industry encouraged buying of financial stocks. The benchmark Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose 40.10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,252.83.

SINGAPORE: Share prices closed slightly higher on bargain hunting. The Straits Times Index edged up 1.43 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,960.16.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares bucked falls in U.S. markets to close higher. The NZSE-40 Capital Index rose 16.76 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,966.08.

MANILA: Philippine stocks finished higher on a mild technical recovery. The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 9.69 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,400.36.

SYDNEY: Australian shares closed slightly lower. The All Ordinaries Index fell 0.6 percent, or 19.5 points, to 3,232.5.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares closed lower in lackluster trade on the heels of Wall Street's overnight declines. The Composite Index fell 2.48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 733.49.

JAKARTA: Indonesian shares closed lower on profit-taking. The Composite Index fell 0.6 percent, or 3.834 points, to 431.808.

BANGKOK: Thai share prices closed slightly higher. The Stock Exchange of Thailand index edged up 0.98 point, or 0.4 percent, to 273.69.

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