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Markets & Stocks
Asia mixed, Tokyo falls
December 29, 2000: 5:30 a.m. ET

Hong Kong banks, properties rally; Nikkei ends year down 27%
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Asian markets were mixed Friday, with Tokyo's key index ending the year lower amid growing pessimism about the economy, while gains in banking, telecom, and property shares lifted Hong Kong.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 average fell 1.2 percent to close at 13,785.69. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 2 percent at 15,095.53. graphicSingapore's Straits Times index rose 1.4 percent to 1,926.83.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar strengthened against the Japanese yen, buying ¥114.91, compared with ¥114.29 in late trading in New York a day earlier.

In the U.S. Thursday, the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.6 percent at 10,868.76 while the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 0.7 percent to close at 2,557.76.

Tokyo's growing pessimism



In a shortened session in Tokyo, stocks fell on their last trading day of the year as investors expressed growing pessimism over the outlook for the coming months.

The benchmark Nikkei average finished the year 27.2 percent lower than at the end of 1999, its worst yearly performance since 1990's 38.7 percent slide.

Notable among Friday's decliners was the market's biggest issue by market capitalization, mobile-phone operator NTT DoCoMo, falling 2 percent to continue a downward trend amid concerns about a forthcoming share sale that could dilute investors' holdings.

Consumer electronics maker Sony shed 1.3 percent, to post a drop of 48 percent from a year ago. Kyocera, the world's biggest maker of integrated circuit ceramic packages, fell 2.6 percent, leaving it 53 percent down from end-1999, and Internet investor Softbank tumbled 2.5 percent.

Hong Kong blue chips move higher



Market heavyweights China Mobile and HSBC Holdings led Hong Kong's key index higher, but the Hang Seng ended the year down about 11 percent.

China Mobile, the mainland's biggest cell-phone operator, rebounded 2.9 percent after falling a day earlier amid concern that changes in Chinese telephone tariffs will have a negative impact on the company.

"Investors are optimistic about the Hong Kong and China story with the recent news on new initial public offerings and restructuring in the telecom sector," said David Williamson, sales director at China Everbright Securities.

Telecom-to-ports conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa added 2.4 percent, Internet and telephone firm Pacific Century CyberWorks edged up 1 percent, and SmarTone Telecommunications gained 1.8 percent.

Investors continued to pick up interest rate-sensitive stocks in the hope of a cut in rates in January. Global banking firm HSBC Holdings climbed 2.2 percent, and Hong Kong's leading real estate developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) rose 1 percent.

Overnight gains on Wall Street and bargain hunting helped Johnson Electric, a maker of micro-motors, climbed 3.9 percent. The stock had fallen about 26 percent in the past month on concerns that a slowing U.S. economy would dent the company's future growth. The company exports about a third of its output to the U.S.

"Some investors have returned to pick up the stock at bargain prices," said Andrew To, head of research at Tai Fook Securities.

Shares of phone distributor First Mobile Group Holdings closed at HK$0.89 on Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market, up from its initial public offering price of HK$0.82. The company, which distributes Siemens, Samsung, Kyocera, Sagem and Phillips mobile phones, raised HK$114.8 ($14.7 million) in its IPO.

Singapore banks were also higher, with the city-state's largest bank, DBS Group Holdings, up 1.6 percent and OCBC gaining 1.6 percent.

The Straits Times index closed down 22 percent from the start of the year, its worst performance since the start of Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Elsewhere in Asia Pacific



In Taipei, the Taiwan Weighted index fell 1.1 percent to end at 4,743.94 as investors sold tech shares following Thursday's 4 percent rally.

The index has fallen 46 percent since the beginning of 2000.

graphicIn Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 index ended down 0.9 percent at 3,206.2 as a spate of last-minute selling hit the market.

Telecom firm Telstra fell 2.6 percent, ending the year down 22 percent.

Media titan News Corp., the most heavily weighted stock in the market, rose 0.9 percent to A$14. The stock has fallen sharply in the past two months from above A$22 per share amid concerns about a slowdown in the U.S. economy and a delay in the flotation of its satellite assets. However, gains earlier in 2000 meant the stock finished the year with a loss of just 5.2 percent from the end of last year.

Bangkok's SET index closed 0.6 percent higher, and Manila's PHS Composite rose 0.5 percent.

Markets in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.

--from staff and wire reports graphic

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.