Regional stocks put in a better performance last week as an improving interest rate outlook and some government intervention boosted markets. Stocks made the best advances in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, while they weakened in India. Thai stocks made impressive gains after the Thai Government and public sector stepped up a campaign to reduce the depressed market. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index was driven higher over the week after two market support funds, amounting to 25.7 billion baht (about $7.88 billion), swung into action. Despite the gains, the SET Index still lags at the bottom of the world's major indices this year with a cumulative fall of 19.44 per cent. Hong Kong stocks took heart from signs the US Federal Reserve will not raise key lending rates as fast as many had previously feared. The Hang Seng London Reference Index outpaced the main Hong Kong market on Friday following the release of more interest-rate friendly US economic data. Taiwan stocks made firm advances, climbing to two-month highs mid-week, amid improving signs for the island's petrochemical industry. A record acquisition made by USI Far East and Union Petrochemical to purchase three units of Australia's BTR Nylex for US$300 million boosted confidence that earnings will rise. In Tokyo, stocks prices joined in the region's advance late in the week, boosted by expectations that a general election in October should benefit the economy. The Nikkei-225 climbed nearly 2 per cent on Friday as Japanese newspapers speculated the poll could take place as soon as October 20. Indian stocks markets had a less than impressive week as fears of an economic slowdown and sluggish growth in corporate earnings. Bombay's Sensitive Index shed 160.7 points after the government failed to deliver anticipated tax relief. Mangaldas L Kaji chief executive officer Himanshu Kaji said: 'Then outlook is plagued by uncertainties and lack of investor interest - you could expect a fall of 100 to 150 points.'