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Nikkei up, but can't top 12,000
Japan index manages 0.4% gain; rest of markets in region finish mixed.
August 3, 2005: 11:12 AM EDT

LONDON (Dow Jones) - Japanese stocks ended higher Wednesday, taking a cue from advances on Wall Street, but couldn't hold the key 12,000 level. Regional bourses closed mixed.

The Nikkei Average closed up 0.35% to 11,981. The index hit 12,009 during the session, topping the previous intraday high for this year, which was set Tuesday.

In other indexes, Sydney's All Ordinaries closed down 0.4% to 4,325 and Seoul's Kospi index fell 0.2% to 1,117. Singapore's Straits Times Index ended down 0.5% to 2,365. Markets in Shanghai, Indonesia , Malaysia and Taiwan closed higher.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1% to end at 15,118.

Shares in Chinese oil giant CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) added 0.9% after it withdrew its $18.5 billion bid for Unocal Corp. (UCL). Shares were up as much as 5% earlier in the session, after gains of over 3% on Wednesday.

Investors in Japan were wary of political uncertainty. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has threatened to dissolve parliament for a snap election if the upper house fails to pass postal privatization legislation before the current session ends on Aug. 13 . A vote on the bill could be held as soon as Friday, AFX News reported.

As crude-oil futures rose by past $62 a barrel, Nippon Oil Corp. jumped 4.4% to be the biggest gainer in the index.

Automakers were higher, with Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) shares adding 0.7% as quarterly sales rose to 4.98 trillion yen from 4.51 trillion yen, but net profit fell 6.9%, hit by higher research and development and other expenses. It maintained its forecasts for the half-year to September and year to March.

Honda Motor Co. (HMC) shares added 1.9% after U.S. sales in July were detailed. The Honda brand reported a rise in sales of 14% to 123,308 vehicles, while Acura sales totaled 19,909 -- a 21% increase.

Bridgestone (BRDCY) shares closed up 0.4% as the world's largest tiremaker said it plans to build a factory in southern China to make steel cords used in radial tires for buses and trucks.

Shares of KDDI Corp. (KDDIF) shares fell 0.9% as Kyodo News, citing unnamed sources, reported KDDI is in final talks with Tokyo Electric Power (TOKEF) to absorb TEPCO's telecom subsidiary, PoweredCom, possibly next January. TEPCO shares were down 0.2%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-03-05 0654ET Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Copyright (C) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  Top of page


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