Today's markets

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The Independent Online

The FTSE had fallen 10.1 points to 6253.7 at Noon today.

The FTSE had fallen 10.1 points to 6253.7 at Noon today.

Most Asian stock markets ended the week lower Friday, dragged down by an overnight slump on Wall Street.

The Japanese benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 374.90 points, or 2.51 per cent, to 14,552.29. On Thursday, the average closed down 241.49 points, or 1.59 per cent.

Selling of technology issues and communications stocks such as Sony and Matsushita led the decline after the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 94.26 points to close at 2,728.51 Thursday.

Also in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 10,674.99, down 119.45.

Market sentiment worsened in the afternoon on reports that two small Japanese credit cooperatives - Kansai Kogin and Tokyo Shogin - were near collapse, traders said.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section fell 20.89 points, or 1.52 per cent, to close at 1,351.34. The TOPIX closed down 20.67 points, or 0.62 per cent, the day before.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was quoted at 112.38 yen, down 0.04 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo but just above its late New York level of 112.37 yen overnight.

In Hong Kong, the blue chip Hang Seng Index fell 521.46 points, or 3.3 per cent, closing at 14,975.53. On Thursday, the index had lost 124.74 points, or 0.8 per cent.

Dealers said the finance sector was hit by profit warnings issued by major U.S. bank Chase-J.P. Morgan, which said its fourth-quarter earnings would fall substantially below expectations.

The profit warning sent stocks tumbling Thursday on Wall Street.

South Korean shares also closed sharply lower on foreign selling.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, fell 13.38 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 534.00.

Elsewhere:

SINGAPORE: Share closed lower on thin volume as losses on Wall Street overnight discouraged investors. The Straits Times Index fell 32.36 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 1,948.18.

TAIPEI: Taiwan shares ended lower in the wake of a tumble overnight in the Nasdaq composite index. The benchmark Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange fell 95.42 points, or 1.79 per cent, to 5,224.74.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed lower in reaction to Wall Street's overnight slide. The NZSE-40 Capital Index fell 10.19 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 1,948.41.

MANILA: Philippine stocks closed mixed in listless trading. The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index edged up 4.52 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,403.39.

SYDNEY: Australian shares closed lower across the board. The All Ordinaries Index fell 1.40 per cent, or 45 points, to 3,178.1.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian share prices closed lower. The Composite Index, which tracks 100 key stocks, fell 12.06 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 700.44.

JAKARTA: Indonesian shares closed mixed. The JSX Composite Index rose 1.1 per cent, or 4.488 points, to 423.684.

BANGKOK: Thai share prices closed slightly higher on selective buying in blue chips. The Stock Exchange of Thailand's SET index edged up 1.88 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 273.17.

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