NEW Zealand shares crept up to another 33-month high on big volume yesterday, buoyed by firmness in two leading stocks and by encouraging corporate profitability news. The NZSE-40 Capital Index gained 7.03 points to close at 1,656.53. Turnover was worth NZ$47.2 million. Neville Todd at Doyle Paterson Brown said the market appeared to be in good shape. Mr Todd said corporate profitability was now starting to reflect positive economic fundamentals. TOKYO STOCKS ended lower after a seesaw session, with profit-taking wiping away early gains and stemming a three-day rise. Position adjustments ahead of the weekend also dampened prices, brokers said. ''There wasn't enough momentum to boost the whole market to new year-highs, but there was a fair amount of buying in some banking and blue-chip shares. Things didn't look that bad,'' said Kenichi Nagasu at Cosmo Securities. The 225-share Nikkei Average lost 193.76 points, 0.92 per cent, to 20,882.24. The broader first section TOPIX index was down 4.43 points to 1,671.7. SINGAPORE SHARES ended steadier from overnight levels in cautious trade with bargain-hunting helping to improve the market's overall tone, brokers said. ''We had a healthy correction and should continue to do so after the market's rallies,'' one bank-based broker said. Prices plunged on Thursday due to spill-over of negative sentiment from Malaysia, where shares fell due to forced selling. The 30-share Straits Times Industrial Index closed at 1,870.88, up 1.4 points from Thursday. Brokers said investors, sitting on profits, were still prone to sell on any negative news. But buying orders were still coming in. ''Our foreign clients took the opportunity to buy when the market fell yesterday,'' a foreign firm's broker said. TAIPEI STOCKS extended mid-morning gains to end higher across the board and turnover increased as investors sought industrial shares, brokers said. The Weighted Index ended 48.77 points up at 4,391.5. Turnover was NT$24.29 billion against Thursday's $16.8 billion. Expectations of a minor technical rebound encouraged buying, brokers said. ''People began buying as some stocks are at quite low levels, but rises today may not be firm as most people are still nervous,'' said Wang Jieh of Foremost Investment Services. SEOUL STOCKS ended easier in active trading on waves of profit-taking across the board, but market energy remained strong with rising customer deposits at brokerage houses, brokers said. ''Institutional investors got rid of a large number of shareholdings for profits. That contributed decisively to the late dip. But the market should rebound next week to test the 780 level,'' said Chung Suk-ho of Hanshin Securities. The stock index ended three points lower at 760.15. Turnover totalled 1.14 trillion won against 1.17 trillion on Thursday. SYDNEY AUSTRALIAN shares regained earlier losses and the index closed unchanged from Thursday. ''The index went nowhere - it was not an awe-inspiring day,'' said Guy Jones of Lance Jones. The index, which opened at 1,742.7, dropped to 1,738.8 at noon before closing at 1,741 - the same as on Thursday. Brokers said there was still buyer interest in a stronger gold sector following a slight rise in the gold bullion price overnight and yesterday. ''There has been a bit of a recovery in the gold price after sizeable falls,'' said a broker. MANILA SHARE prices closed firmer in a technical rally boosted by the overnight rise of blue chip Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co in New York. The Manila Stock Exchange Index inched up 6.14 points to 1,587.29. The Makati Index was up 10.16 points to 1,622.08. Peter Chua, analyst at Citisecurities, said trade was thin, adding that the rise was expected because of the market's oversold position following last week's slide. ''We should see the market rally some more,'' he said. Joey Salceda of Baring Securities said: ''There was nothing fundamental to cause investors to jump the ship nor jump for joy.'' JAKARTA PRICES ended yesterday's half-day session mixed in moderate trade, brokers said. ''Continued buying interest from foreigners sustained prices although light profit-taking from locals dampened a further rise in the index,'' a dealer with a foreign brokerage said. Dealers also said that speculation about possible regulations on increasing foreign ownership encouraged overseas institutions to hold back their buy orders. The official composite index rose slightly to 349.66. KUALA LUMPUR PRICES ended softer in brisk trade. Profit-taking pushed the 85-stock Composite Index down 2.91 points to 732.15. Brokers said activity was expected to be curtailed next week following the recent imposition of stricter buying conditions which sparked off a wave of selling orders on Thursday. BANGKOK THE Thai stock market was closed yesterday for the Buddhist Visakhabucha Day. It re-opens on Monday. The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.