THE 30-share Straits Times Industrial Index hit a new closing high of 2,053.88 yesterday, up 2.41 points from Tuesday's closing high. It was the third consecutive day that the index ended at a new high. The index is 8.45 points away from the all-time traded high of 2,062.33 set on Tuesday. ''A rally in local blue chips as well as in Malaysian semi-blue chips traded over the counter sparked the rally,'' said Margaret Woo, dealing director at Phillip Securities. ''We see foreign funds being shifted from Hong Kong and Thailand to buy Singapore and Malaysian shares,'' she said. Brokers said sentiment was basically bullish, adding that some institutions might sell part of their holdings to buy Singapore Telecom shares. MANILA PHILIPPINE Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) drove Manila share prices to record highs for the thirdday but profit-taking pared gains at the close. The Manila stock index rose 18 points while Makati firmed by five points. PLDT closed 55 pesos up at 1,720 against a high of 1,730 pesos in Manila after gaining US$3.50 to $59.88 in New York. Brokers say foreign fund managers consider PLDT cheap. The Manila index hit a high of 2,126.33 points in early trade but settled down at 2,112.03 at the close, 18.2 points up from Tuesday, while Makati edged up 5.17 points to 2,167.82. TAIPEI STOCKS closed sharply higher after a wave of late buying in finance issues, encouraged by continued hopes for some form of cut in the stock transaction tax. The Weighted Index gave up its gains at mid-morning and then surged again to end 52.26 points or 1.3 per cent up at its intra-day high of 3,994.51. Turnover surged to NT$25.48 billion from Tuesday's $20.47 billion. Brokers said the market was also boosted by relief that major player Lei Po-lung received a relatively lenient jail sentence of one year in his payment default trial on Tuesday. Speculative shares related to Lei surged as other big players took the verdict as a signal to re-enter the market, brokers said. WELLINGTON ELECTION uncertainty was shoved aside as the market thrust to fresh highs not seen since December 1989. The market has been driven by the largest stock, Telecom, which ended square at NZ$4.40 after a strong performance in New York and in morning trade. The NZSE-40 index ended up 1.34 at 2,041.12. The market has largely ignored uncertainty ahead of the November 6 election. Ord Minnett broker John Rattray said it has discounted in a win to the ruling National Party, which extended its lead to three points from one in the latest TV3-Gallup poll. ''The market is certainly discounting for a National win although the margin is fine,'' said Mr Rattray. TOKYO STOCKS ended weaker amid persistent selling related to the launch of the new Nikkei 300 weighted stock index, but brokers say momentum is slowing. The Nikkei 225 Average closed above 20,000 after dipping briefly below the psychological support level in the morning. ''The falls were due to speculative selling, but those sales are decreasing compared with Tuesday,'' said a broker at Sanyo Securities. ''In addition, falls in some individual shares on poorer-than-expected earnings forecasts hit the market,'' he said. The Nikkei closed down 98.91 points or 0.49 per cent at 20,038.4, with about 230 million shares traded. The broader first section TOPIX index ended down 6.73 points or 0.41 per cent at 1,645.53. The new Nikkei 300, calculated after the market closes each day, ended up 0.48 points at 299.37 on Tuesday. The market opened slightly firmer, boosted by demand for shares in mining firms after an overnight jump in gold in New York. But share prices softened afterwards and continued to lose ground for most of the day, aside from a brief flurry of index buying led by foreign brokerages which helped the Nikkei rebound slightly in the afternoon. The Nikkei 225 touched an intra-day low of 19,997.9 in the morning as investors continued to sell shares excluded from the new Nikkei 300. KUALA LUMPUR THE market regained its composure after a shaky start to close higher, fuelled by foreign fund interest in blue chips led by utility giant Tenaga Nasional. The Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index, which has set new highs in the past five days, closed up 5.67 points at 911.38. It soared past the 900-point barrier on Tuesday before setting an intra-day record high of 912.74. Brokers said the index was likely to stay comfortably above the 900-point mark on the back of foreign institutional demand. Turnover was 558.5 million shares against 730.3 million on Tuesday. Gainers outnumbered losers by 230 to 145. SYDNEY THE market bounced back to a stronger close led by a bullish gold sector to retrace most of Tuesday's losses. Brokers said several stocks went ex-dividend but this failed to drag the index down. The All Ordinaries Index ended 10.6 points higher at 2,038.6, after opening at 2,034.9. ''The overall trend remains positive and there seems to be good underlying support,'' said David Perry, research director at Austock Brokers. The gold marker jumped 61.8 points to 2,154.3 after gold prices firmed. Gold surged overnight, taking Comex futures to their highest level in more than a month. The All Industrials closed 9.1 points higher at 3,166.4 and the All Resources rose 12.1 to 1,176.6. Nine Network ended two firmer at $4.97, despite going ex-dividend seven cents. Seven Network also ended firmer at $3.41, up six. News Corp jumped 10 to $10.72 after shedding 22 cents on Tuesday. News also topped industrial turnover with 4.7 million shares traded. SEOUL STOCKS ended higher for the third day, posting a double-digit gain on the back of an across-the-board buying spree. ''Buying prevailed in anticipation of a liquidity-driven rally ahead now the deadline for identifying false-name financial accounts has passed,'' said Park Key-pyong of Hanyang Securities. ''The market is in the upward trend. But selling pressure is lurking around 750,'' said Park Si-jin of First Securities. The index ended 16.82 points up at 740.39. Aggressive foreign buying helped send heavily capitalised KEPCO limit-up. It gained 800 won to 18,900. Counters with low price-to-book ratios spearheaded an early rally. Manho Rope went limit-up for the sixth session, climbing 2,000 won to 52,800. Turnover totalled 639.34 billion won from 553.86 billion won on Tuesday. Of 789 gainers, 141 counters went limit-up. JAKARTA MOST stock prices closed higher, boosted by improved investor confidence on better business prospects. ''Confidence is building up that improving business climate will lead to better performances in 1994,'' a dealer said. He also said investors expected the Government to announce a fresh set of economic reforms this month, including an allowance for increased foreign ownership in listed companies. The official index rose to 448.98 from Tuesday's 443.87. The Chinese share prices are provided by Telerate. All other prices are provided by Reuter.