Prices generally higher as rally continues in Taiwan

SHARE prices in Taiwan finished higher across the board in active trade yesterday, extending a rally which began last Saturday when Premier Hau Pei-tsun announced he would resign to ease a political crisis.

The weighted index, which was up more than 60 points in late trade, closed 41.03 points or 1.2 per cent higher at 3,542.26.

The index has climbed nine per cent in the past three trading days.

Profit-taking emerged in the opening minutes to pull the index down, but it rose again as investors regained confidence as political uncertainty decreased.

''We will see a correction soon, but the market may go up again after the correction if the political situation does not worsen,'' said Mr Albert Lin of Golden Securities.

WELLINGTON THE Capital Index ended marginally higher but prices were mixed.

Good interest in Brierley and Telecom propped the index up but most others including the foresters were weak.

The index closed 1.44 points up at 1,514.76.

''It's just sideways action. It's a stand-off,'' Mr Jeremy Ashcroft of Hendry Hay McIntosh said of the market.

SYDNEY STOCKS shrugged off strong gains overseas and improved balance of payments figures to close barely up on the day.

The All Ordinaries Index started modestly firmer but soon lost ground to bounce sluggishly in a tight range through the afternoon to close only 1.1 points higher at 1,530.2.

''The market is in drift mode,'' Mr John Bowie Wilson of Hambros Equities said, citing concern about the outcome of the interim results reporting season and the upcoming election as reasons for the lacklustre mood.

MANILA PRICES drifted lower in sideways trade as investors were discouraged by the absence of good news on oil drilling off southwestern Palawan island.

The Composite Index inched down 2.79 points to 1,334.73.

''Investors are concerned over the Linapacan well and no news on Malampaya,'' said Mr Harry Liu of Summit Securities.

TOKYO STOCKS ended modestly firmer in slow-moving trade after retreating from earlier highs.

Investors were keeping to the sidelines with no fresh factors, and profit-taking emerged occasionally on moderate rises.

The Nikkei average moved sideways above the 17,000-point level all day.

''Selling by corporate tokkin fund-trusts is depressing prices,'' said a trader.

''At the Nikkei's current level above 17,000, investors can take a 10 per cent profit on some shares which they bought before the recent rally.'' The Nikkei closed up 52.67 points to 17,186.31, with about 240 million shares traded.

Advancing issues led decliners by nearly seven to four, with 599 higher, 341 lower and 183 unchanged.

SEOUL A MILD technical rebound following a six-day losing streak pushed stocks up to close slightly higher but sentiment remained largely lacklustre.

Brokers said bargain-hunting in financial shares, recent laggards, also buoyed the index.

''The index rose on a technical rebound in a reaction to the falls of the past six days,'' a fund manager said.

The Composite Index climbed 2.61 points to 666.18. KUALA LUMPUR PRICES closed broadly higher on a technical rebound after recent losses.

''Prices have fallen steadily and it's time for some technical rebound,'' said one broker. ''Buying in some blue chips pushed the index higher.'' The Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index ended up 3.89 points at 628.38 from Friday's close.

The market was closed for a holiday on Monday.

Some profit-taking was evident in the afternoon to drag prices down from the day's highs.

JAKARTA STOCKS closed after a burst of unusually high activity, with textiles and banks receiving favourable investor attention.

One foreign broker said of the upsurge: ''It caught people unawares, the sharp upward movement. Fresh money is coming in from abroad.'' The broker said last year started on a similar tone. ''This time it is not the same kind of fever. But I will run with it,'' he added.

SINGAPORE THE Straits Times Industrial Index closed at a new high for the third consecutive trading day.

The 30-share index ended up 1.24 points at 1,645.68.

Volume was 119.62 million shares against 104.92 million on Monday, with 146 rises and 119 falls.

''We think a pull-back of up to 1,600 will be healthy. The market has gained non-stop for 12 sessions,'' said Mr Christopher Cheong of UOB Securities said.

The market's rise had been fuelled by improved US fundamentals and anticipation of pro-business policies to be presented at February 26 national budget, traders said.

BANGKOK STOCKS recovered from early losses as heavy buying of major banks in the final minutes pushed the stock index to a higher close although losers outnumbered winners.

The SET Index gained 4.05 points to end at 969.8 on a turnover of 5.59 billion baht. Declines led advances by 123 to 102 with 83 stocks unchanged.

''Some index-buying investors boosted bank prices to see the SET close higher. I'm not sure this is a market rebound,'' said a broker at Phatra Thanakit Co. ''Tomorrow's trade will confirm whether it is a rebound or not.'' The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.