As war broke out on Thursday without upsetting the market's rise, bullish strategists recommended investors buy technology and consumer counters to capture the best upside in an extended rally. South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore were named as the best markets in Asia for optimists who believe the war will be swift and decisive and bring relief to a global economy which has been jittery over Iraq for months. The bull case has already been given a shot in the arm with the dramatic fall in oil prices. United States light crude fell a further 6 per cent in Asian trading yesterday on news that the first Tomahawk cruise-missiles had been sent into Iraq. 'Our view is that the Asian markets that would be the strongest near-term beneficiaries would be Taiwan and Singapore, in particular technology exporters that benefit from better United States earnings and [capital expenditure] visibility once oil falls,' said Michael Kurtz, a regional strategist with Bear Stearns. 'We also identified Korea as an outperformer - particularly energy-intensive export manufacturers that benefit from cheaper oil, US dollar support and a reduced emphasis on dividend yield.' South Korea had been outperforming the region in the war-inspired rally which began on Tuesday while Singapore's electronics sub-index has already gained 8.2 per cent, outpacing the Straits Times Index. In the search for beta, fund managers have been latching on to Hong Kong property stocks, sending the Hang Seng Property Index up 6.9 per cent since the Monday close. 'We believe that now is the time to make a switch into high-beta Asian equities. We continue to favour Malaysia and Taiwan thanks to domestic investor activity. We boost our weighting in Hong Kong on valuations,' said JP Morgan. Technology, consumer cyclicals and real estate were among the best-performing sectors after the 1991 Gulf War, strategists said; insurance, utilities and automobile stocks are likely to again be underperformers. Brokerages and banking stocks also stood to gain from a quick war and a subsequent equity market rally. Asian investors scooped up shares in battered brokerages yesterday, as hopes for a market rebound strengthened. The pall of uncertainty in the lead-up to the conflict had helped send the Nikkei-225 Index to a 20-year low, and the Korea Composite Index to a 17-month low in recent weeks. Some are sceptical of a post-war relief rally amid worries over economic weakness in the US, possible terror attacks and tensions over North Korea. 'Any complications in the war would hit sectors like consumer electronics that are highly dependent on US consumer spending,' said Koji Muneoka, head of domestic trading at HSBC in Tokyo. 'I'd also be steering well clear of shares in airlines and travel agencies for obvious reasons.' If war was over by the end of next month, markets and sectors geared to falling oil prices such as transport and paper companies should outperform, strategists said. Sectors such as pulp and paper which benefit from a lower price of oil, were big winners in Japan yesterday. Japan's paper maker, Oji Paper jumped 3.75 per cent after front-month US crude oil futures hit three-month lows yesterday. China's Zhejiang Expressway, Cosco Pacific, Hong Kong's Wharf (Holdings), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, South Korea's Samsung Electronics, Singapore's Venture Manufacturing and Thailand Land and Houses are BNP Paribas Peregrine's favourites. Some more cautious investors have sought exposure to property, infrastructure and utilities - favoured for their stable share prices and high dividends - to hedge their bets and protect portfolios.