Today's markets

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The Independent Online

The FTSE had fallen 45.2 points to 6125.2 at Noon today.

The FTSE had fallen 45.2 points to 6125.2 at Noon today.

Most Asian stock markets closed lower Monday, but prices rose both in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The Japanese benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 119.40 points, or 0.80 percent, to close at 14,954.73. On Friday, the average closed up 186.82 points, or 0.97 percent.

The Nikkei average rose about 230 points after the Economic Planning Agency released a report showing that the Japanese economy grew 0.2 percent in the July-September period from the previous quarter. It was the third consecutive quarter of expansion.

But the index erased some of those gains after enthusiasm petered out, traders said.

Still, a 47.36-point gain in the Nasdaq on Friday helped support investor sentiment. The Nasdaq closed at 2,645.29. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40.95 points to close at 10,373.54.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was quoted at 111.04 yen, up .35 yen from late Friday in Tokyo but below its late New York level of 111.44 yen on Friday.

Hong Kong stocks ended higher for the second straight session.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 117.81 points, or 0.82 percent, closing at 14,559.24. On Friday, the index had surged 457.04 points, or 3.3 percent.

Brokers said the Hong Kong market was lifted by continued bargain hunting in telecom and property stocks.

Trading was light as many investors stayed on the sidelines to await direction from U.S. markets later in the day.

South Korean shares slumped as foreign investors continued to dump local stocks due to instability in the U.S. market, traders said. The Korea Composite Stock Index fell 12.73 points, or 2.5 percent, to 501.73.

Taiwan share prices also closed lower in lackluster trading amid lingering concerns of poor global demand for technology products and the probable impact on Taiwan's economy.

The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange fell 103.33 points, or 1.95 percent, to 5,174.00.

Elsewhere:

SINGAPORE: Singapore shares closed lower as bearish caution and the absence of fresh leads kept investors at bay. The Straits Times Index fell 24.03 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,930.97.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares posted modest losses. The benchmark NZSE-40 Capital Index closed down 7.88 points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,931.01.

MANILA: Philippine stocks fell as investors remained sidelined ahead of the scheduled beginning of President Joseph Estrada's impeachment trial on Dec. 7. The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index slipped 4.42 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,381.83.

SYDNEY: The Australian share market closed slightly lower as gains in telecommunications stocks were offset by losses in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The All Ordinaries Index fell 2.1 points, or 0.06 percent, to 3,227.3.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares closed lower on profit-taking. The Composite Index slipped 1.93 points, or 0.3 percent, to 723.76.

JAKARTA: Indonesian share prices closed mixed. The Composite Index rose 0.6 percent, or 2.352 points, to 429.904.

BANGKOK: Thai share prices closed lower on foreign selling. The Stock Exchange of Thailand's SET index fell 2.39 points, or 0.9 percent, to 271.47.

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