THE market soared through the 1,700-point barrier to a 31/2-half year high, with gold stocks again showing the strongest gains. ''The gold sector was particularly strong and BHP was firm, again taking the market with it,'' said one broker. ''It was a busy day.'' She said the market was helped by a firmer Australian dollar and rises in most major resource stocks. The All Ordinaries index closed up 20.1 points at 1,717.4, its highest level since October 13, 1989. WELLINGTON THE NZSE-40 Capital Index finished off the session peak, but nevertheless pushed to another year high in a market with good underlying demand but experiencing some profit-taking. The index finished up 2.92 points at 1,640.54, to surpass Tuesday's record for the year on volume of NZ$43.9 million. Brokers also cited retracement in the Australian market from early strength as a factor. Mr Craig Greenwood at Hendry Hay McIntosh said the market had run out of steam. ''People saw the opportunity to take profits,'' he said, adding that the market was likely to consolidate ahead of result announcements later in the week. MANILA SHARES rose across the board in a continuing rebound from last week's decline with high liquidity providing further support. The Manila Stock Exchange composite index closed 16.21 points higher at 1,608.85, while the Makati index ended 15.45 points higher at 1,639.84. ''We see the market reacting to last week's condition when the market traded under support levels,'' said Mr Harry Liu, president of Summit Securities. ''But this will not last. There will be another downside later, although the overall fundamentals are intact.'' TAIPEI PRICES ended up but well off early highs in a technical rebound after six straight days of falls. Brokers expected the market to remain weak amid concern about the economy and a lack of positive news. The weighted index, which was up 65 points at one stage, closed 18.23 points higher at 4,245.28. Turnover remained very slow at NT$17.12 billion against Tuesday's $14.67 billion. There was strong bargain-hunting in financials but buying elsewhere was limited. ''Some blue chips seemed to stabilise, but speculative stocks still have room for losses,'' said Mr David Chou of Capital Securities. TOKYO STOCKS ended higher and the Nikkei average finished at its day's high on last-minute index-linked buying. Purchases centred on selective laggard issues with good earnings, while export-related blue chips were avoided amid the higher yen and lower profits. ''The market was less concerned about the yen as the general trend of a higher yen was already expected,'' said Mr Tsunehiko Wajima at Wako Securities. The 225-share Nikkei average was up 264.23 points, 1.28 per cent, at 20,895.99, with 470 million shares traded. SEOUL THE market finished higher in a day of mixed trading aided by across-the-board advances but dogged by a sell-off of financial shares. Brokers forecast a similar pattern today improving trading volumes. ''Cyclical buying among large-capitalised shares seems to be over. Investors turned their interest to individual companies with good profiles,'' Mr I.S. Choi of Jardine Fleming said. The composite stock index added 2.64 points to 729.91. BANGKOK STOCKS closed lower after a sale of a big lot of Bangkok Bank shares triggered a sell-off in late afternoon trade. The SET index dropped 7.17 points to close at 836.16 on a thin turnover of 2.27 billion baht after spending most of the day drifting in listless trade. ''It started with some big lots of Bangkok Bank. Then other banks fell and the sale spread to other counters,'' said a broker at Phatra Thanakit Co. KUALA LUMPUR PRICES closed steadier on further buying of selected situational and blue-chip stocks. ''Situationals and some blue chips continue to attract buying interest,'' a dealer said. ''But profit-taking was still widespread to limit the gains.'' The Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange composite index closed up 4.02 points at 735.39, with gains in selected component stocks continuing to support the index. SINGAPORE SHARES ended firmer but brokers say investor reactions were neutral to healthy gross domestic product (GDP) figures released earlier in the day. ''The GDP figures were within the market's expectation of a seven to 7.5 per cent growth and not exciting enough to spark a rally,'' a dealer at a Japanese securities house. The 30-share Straits Times Industrial index closed at 1,868.64, up 7.90 points from Tuesday. JAKARTA PRICES closed higher in active trade despite some profit-taking. ''Foreigners came in at the end of the session which helped prices recover after local players took profits from recent rises,'' said Mr Damdossi Matram, spokesman of the Jakarta Stockbrokers' Club. The Jardine Fleming index rose to 67.17 from Tuesday's 66.91. The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.