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Asian markets gain as oil prices decline

Asian markets gain as oil prices decline
AP
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First Published: Sat, May 31 2008. 01 29 AM IST
Updated: Sat, May 31 2008. 01 29 AM IST
Hong Kong: Most Asian markets gained Friday, following Wall Street’s lead after oil prices slid further and a report showed the US economy grew faster in the last quarter than previously thought.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed at its highest point in nearly five months, rising 1.5% to 14,338.54. That extended a 3% gain Thursday.
“Sentiment was buoyed by falling oil prices and consecutive increases on Wall Street,” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. Ltd in Tokyo.
In Hong Kong, the blue-chip Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6% to 24,533.12. Stocks also rose in South Korea, India, New Zealand, Singapore and mainland China.
Wall Street’s latest climb came after a revised reading of first-quarter gross domestic product helped allay concerns about recession in the US—a major export market for Asia. The government reported that the economy grew at a yearly rate of 0.9%, eclipsing a prior estimate of 0.6% and the fourth quarter increase of 0.6%.
In Tokyo, a softer yen spurred the buying of export-linked stocks.
With oil prices sinking, Hong Kong traders pushed refiners and airlines higher.
Mainland Chinese stocks also gained, amid renewed optimism over the country’s economic outlook and expectations for a moderation in inflation. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9% to 3,433.35. Taiwan’s market slipped, losing almost 0.8%.
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First Published: Sat, May 31 2008. 01 29 AM IST