Singapore whips up new high

THE 30-share Straits Times Industrial Index closed at a record high of 1,922.89, aided by strong gains posted by selected blue chips.

The index rose 5.02 points from the previous record close of 1,917.87 on Friday.

Brokers said strong demand for Singapore Press Holdings contributed to the rise in the index.

A local broker said he expects Singapore shares to continue rising on the back of institutional buying. SYDNEY SHARES were swept higher, fuelled by rises in some blue chips and a slight recovery in gold stocks.

''The market held very well considering we have a Budget tomorrow no one expected it to be so strong,'' a CS First Boston broker said yesterday.

The All Ordinaries Index rose 14.8 points to 1,870.7.

Turnover was 191 million shares worth A$293.1 million. SEOUL STOCKS rebounded to end 25 points higher at 691.67, clawing back around half the losses of the previous two sessions on rumours the Government will announce measures to buoy the market in the wake of the jitters caused by a sudden ban on false-name trading.

''The rumours floating around the market are really the only reason for the sharp rise,'' said Choi Bum at Seoul Securities.

Total of 286 shares went limit-up and 48 went limit-down.

''There were gainers across the board, but mostly large-capitalisation shares rose,'' Mr Choi said. TOKYO SHARES recovered from large morning losses to end higher on arbitrage buying led by steady Nikkei futures prices.

Renewed hopes of a cut in Japan's discount rate lifted the futures market, supporting sentiment in the cash market.

Masaharu Sakudo at Tachibana Securities said: ''The market is now ready to rise with expectations over the Government's economic policies.'' The 225-share Nikkei Average was up 156.32 points or 0.75 per cent to 20,901.49, with about 230 million shares traded. TAIPEI STOCKS gave up early gains to close mixed after a late wave of profit-taking, but brokers say overall sentiment remained positive.

The Weighted Index rose 53 points in early trade but ended 2.94 points down at 4,118.6 on moderate turnover of NT$17.18 billion.

Early gains were sparked by the central bank's easing of curbs on lending to property buyers and investment firms at the weekend.

Brokers said the impact on the market and the real estate industry would be minor but construction stocks saw buying. MANILA PRICES closed slightly higher as the market remained bullish, buoyed by liquidity pumped in by trade in newly listed JG Summit.

''The market is definitely bullish and I see no signs of reversing,'' said Joseph Roxas of R. Coyiuto Securities. ''Liquidity from JG is keeping the market up, though foreign buying is not as heavy as before.'' The Manila Composite Index ended at 1,763.08 points against Friday's 1,759.65. Makati rose 8.28 points to 1,813.84. WELLINGTON VOLUMES were depressed as the market took a breather after the bull run.

Brokers said the NZ$24 million volume was less than half of daily volumes last week.

''But given that Telecom recovered all but a cent of its dividend and each one of the leaders traded slightly better than on Friday, it's certainly not a bad sign,'' Ord Minnett's John Rattray said. BANGKOK MOST stocks remained in negative territory withsome selective buying based on second-quarter earnings by listed issues.

''Activity will be sluggish and the index sideways down this week in the absence of fresh market moving news. There's some selective buying based on earnings,'' said an Ekachart Finance broker.

The SET Index fell 5.07 points to 959.55 with declines leading advances by 159 to 84. KUALA LUMPUR PRICES closed off the day's highs as profit-taking set in after impressive full-year results reported by Malayan Banking, Malaysia's top bank, gave the market an early boost.

The 85-share Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index closed up 0.85 points at 772.76 after touching an intra-day high of 776.18.

Brokers said the market would stay firm in the immediate term on expectations of more healthy corporate earnings, but profit-taking was likely to limit the upside. BANGKOK WEAK second-quarter corporate earnings induced investors to shed shares near the end of the day.

The SET Index closed 10.33 points or 1.07 per cent lower at 954.29 on a moderate 6.27 billion baht turnover.

''The market showed jitters from the start. Out of some 40 corporate earnings released, only about 10 were positive,'' a Union Securities broker said. JAKARTA PRICES closed higher with several banks registering strong gains in active trading.

''Investors believed that Bank Internasional Indonesia, Bank Duta and several other banks will post good half-year results so speculation was strong on banking shares,'' a broker said. The results are expected within the next few weeks.

The official index closed at 382.01, up from Friday's 379.94.

The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.