Markets regain some losses

HEARTENED by the Wall Street rebound on Monday, bargain-hunters sent Asian markets bouncing back in thin pre-holiday trading yesterday.

The Hang Seng Index, after plummeting more than six per cent on Monday, rose 39.89 points or 0.16 per cent to 11,454.16.

The market opened on a strong note following the 34.9-point rise in New York overnight, but most of the gains were later shed on strong selling pressure.

The plunge continued in the afternoon session, but late selective buying by overseas institutions reversed the trend.

In Tokyo, the long-awaited agreement on tax reforms by Japan's ruling coalition pushed share and government bond prices higher, but the stock market failed to keep the momentum towards the end of the day.

The Nikkei Average ended the day 236.83 points up at 20,251.23, after Monday's fall of 287.03 points.

Thailand, which dived 6.9 per cent on Monday, rose 1.56 per cent, led by blue-chip banks and construction companies.

Philippine investors, encouraged by President Fidel Ramos' ability to avert a nationwide strike, drove share prices higher, with the composite index up 1.7 per cent at 2,952.85.

Malaysia's key index rose 14.7 points to 1,108.72, while Singapore's Straits Times Industrials index edged up 7.19 points to close at 2,321.64.

In Sydney the All Ordinaries Index recouped almost half of its Monday losses, rising 24.3 points to 2,305.4.