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Asian stocks close in the black, but gains remain modest

Asian stocks close in the black, but gains remain modest
AFP
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First Published: Fri, Aug 15 2008. 12 36 AM IST
Hong Kong: Asian shares closed mostly up on Thursday, but the gains were generally modest after a disappointing Wall Street performance and poor Chinese economic data.
The Shanghai bourse fell by 0.38% after official data showed that China’s industrial output growth slowed to a 17-month low in July as a cooling global economy curbs demand for its exports. The Chinese stock market is some 60% down from its peak in October last year.
Investors in the Asia-Pacific had to digest a poor lead from Wall Street on Wednesday after the Dow Jones index fell nearly 1% in the wake of figures showing declining US retail sales in July.
A rise in world oil prices also curbed enthusiasm for stocks, although at around $117 (Rs5,007) per barrel, the cost of crude remains well down from record highs above $147 reached last month.
Elsewhere in Asia on Thursday, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore ended in the black. But Japan, Asia’s biggest market, fell 0.51%.
India fell nearly 2.5%, but Indonesia rose more than 2% after posting better economic growth data showing 6.39% expansion in the second quarter.
Japanese share prices closed down 0.51% amid fresh problems in the US financial sector and the domestic real estate industry, dealers said. ]
The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index lost 66.25 points to 12,956.80, the lowest close since 5 August. The broader Topix index of all first section shares fell 0.61%.
Australian share prices closed up 0.6%. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 29.5 points to 4,981.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 43.1 points to 5,039.
Chinese share prices closed mixed, dealers said. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index—which covers both A and B shares—was down 9.22 points or 0.38% at 2,437.08 points. Analysts said lowerthan-expected industrial output data intensified investor worry over economic growth and company profits.
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First Published: Fri, Aug 15 2008. 12 36 AM IST