PRICES closed higher yesterday on further index-linked buying and renewed speculative interest, pushing the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index to a new closing high of 691.7, up 19.17 points or 2.85 per cent. The index had earlier hit an all-time intra-day high of 691.93 points. Brokers said more funds were expected to flow in to mop up blue-chip counters, adding that the index could surge past 700 points soon. Turnover was 474.3 million shares against 385.9 million on Tuesday. Gainers led losers by 221 to 123. TOKYO STOCKS closed lower for the fourth consecutive day on concerns the yen's sharp rise would be a major obstacle to Japan's economic recovery. Futures-linked buying lifted prices off their lows but the market still ended on a weaker note. ''The market's recent advance was driven by individual investors using margin trade and brokerage dealers. They are swift when the time comes to take profit,'' said Mr Hajime Nakajima at Cosmo Securities. The Nikkei Average was down 55.42 points or 0.28 per cent to 19,773.01, with an estimated 400 million shares traded. SYDNEY STOCKS withered as profit-takers moved in after a weak performance overnight on Wall Street. ''There has been a bit of profit-taking coming in on the back of Wall Street,'' one broker said. ''The fact that it was down by 50 points at one stage has made some investors nervous about whether the Dow has hit the top.'' The All Ordinaries closed down 9.7 points at 1,693.9. National turnover was 200 million shares worth A$340.5 million with rises and falls roughly equal. MANILA PRICES dropped sharply after a strong opening on lack of follow-through buying and disappointment over oil drilling reports. The Manila Composite Index fell 22.05 points to close to 1,532.76 from 1,554.81 on Tuesday. The Makati Index made a similar dive to close at 1,560.02, down 26.12 points. ''There was an absence of follow-through buying made worse by rumours that foreign funds are getting out of oils due to lack of positive developments in oil drillings,'' said Mr Louie Bate of Baring Securities. TAIPEI PRICES reversed early losses to end slightly higher but financials remained weak. The Weighted Index, which was more than 60 points down at one stage, ended 34.2 points up at 4,482.63. Turnover was thin at NT$31.44 billion against Tuesday's $39 billion. Worries over the uncertain stock dividend issue of the Big Three banks deterred players, brokers said, but late bargain-hunting in industrials pulled the index up. WELLINGTON DRIVEN by forestry stocks, the market bucked the trend of weaker US and Australian markets to push the NZSE-40 index to close above 1,600 for the first time since February. ''The guts of this market is that forestry stocks are in vogue and they are moving in big volume,'' Ord Minnett's Mr John Rattray said. ''Maybe the New Zealand market is poised to show relative strength which it hasn't done for the last three months,'' he said. The NZSE-40 Capital Index rose 7.04 to 1,604.93 on volume of NZ$42.6 million. SINGAPORE PRICES closed firm after a brief correction on Tuesday and brokers say they detected a slight softening in buying demand in the afternoon trade. Institutional investors focused on the neighbouring Malaysian share market which leapt on fresh buying. ''Buying in Singapore has dried up a bit,'' one senior broker said. He said he expected trade to be sidelined. The 30-share Straits Times Industrial Index rose 6.99 points to 1,770.06 after dipping by about eight points on Tuesday. SEOUL STOCKS closed at a 20-month high helped by a late surge from financial counters which added to a day of across-the-board advances led by electronic counters. The Composite Stock Index closed 11.92 points higher at 733.58, surpassing the previous high of 725.76 set on April 19. ''The market is trading on an incredible confidence,'' said a broker at Tong Yang Securities, referring to the bobbing index which has yet to decline more than five points this week. BANGKOK PRICES rose as investors continued to buy on anticipation that the authorities might take less severe action than expected against violators of Thailand's new securities law. The SET Index gained 5.2 points to close at 889.42 on turnover of 3.84 billion baht. Brokers said the index also rose because of strong gains by big banks. Investors believed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might decide to merely fine violators rather than prosecute them in court, brokers said. JAKARTA SHARE prices closed mixed in active trade. ''Locals were taking profit and foreign investors were selling selective stocks but it was well absorbed,'' a local broker said. Declines led advances by 33 to 31 with 26 counters unchanged. The Jardine Fleming index was up 0.05 points at 63.21. The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.