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Asia Top News and Analysis South Korea

  • Investors study shares prices during the morning trading at RHB private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb.3, 2006. Malaysia's key stock index rose Friday to a 15-week high as foreign funds plowed into key bluechips after a long holiday. The Composite Index of 100 blue chip stocks ended at 927.85 points, up 13.84 points or 1.5 percent from last Friday's close. (AP Photo) **MALAYSIA OUT**

    Oil's relentless surge to a new peak above $124 weighed on Asian shares Friday, while a stronger yen pressured Japanese exporters, such as Toyota Motor.

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    Oil's relentless push to yet another record high pressured Asian shares across the board Thursday, raising fears that inflation -- and central bank measures to cool it -- would hurt consumer spending and profits.

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    South Korea's central bank held interest rates steady for the ninth consecutive month on Thursday, saying Asia's fourth-largest economy was faced with conflicting risks from inflation and economic slowdown.

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    Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday with some markets reversing earlier advances. Resource firms, helped by record high oil prices and rising metal prices managed to hang on to their gains.

  • Asian markets were mostly weaker Tuesday after surging oil prices and worries that Bank of America would scrap a deal to buy mortgage firm Countrywide Financial hurt Wall Street.

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    Asian stocks were higher Monday, after upbeat U.S. jobs data buoyed Wall Street Friday, with stronger oil and metal prices lifting resource firms. Volumes were thin with both the Japanese and South Korean markets closed for national holidays.

  • A man uses his mobile phone in front of electronic stock boards at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Ltd.) headquarters in Sydney, Australia.

    Asian markets were sharply higher Friday after better-than-expected economic data, a rebound in the U.S. dollar and falling oil prices and triggered a rally on Wall Street. Both Japan and Australia closed 2 percent higher.

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    South Korean exports in April rose more than expected and by their fastest annual pace in more than three years, data showed on Thursday, easing worries about the impact of a sluggish global economy on the country's sales abroad.

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    China's official purchasing managers' index rose to 59.2 in April from 58.4 in March, boosted by strength in output and new orders, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said on Thursday.

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    The Japanese and Australian markets closed lower in the afternoon session Thursday. Trading was quiet with most markets in the region closed for the Labour Day holiday.

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    Most Asian markets closed lower Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve rate decision later in the session. Japan finished slightly lower, but Shanghai was the stand out performer, up almost 5 percent.

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    Singapore's unemployment rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in the first quarter amid mounting uncertainties in the global economy, and analysts warned the jobless rate may climb higher in the months ahead.

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    Japan's industrial production fell far more than expected in March, pushing up Japanese bond prices and stoking worries that U.S. economic woes are hitting Japanese companies.

  • Asian markets were lackluster on Tuesday following a flat finish in the U.S. stock market. But Greater China shares remained firm on the back of positive corporate earnings. Most investors were sidelined and cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting.

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    Asian markets trimmed their early gains on Monday as investors took a breather following a rally in financial stocks. But many remained optimistic that the banking sector may finally be putting the credit crunch behind it.

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    A bounce in the U.S. dollar lifted some Asian stock markets on Friday, while crude oil sank further from its recent $120 a barrel record, dragging energy firms down but boosting airline counters.  Japan finished at a two-month high.

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    Japanese annual inflation hit a decade-high 1.2 percent in March, as energy prices soar, but the central bank is expected to sit tight on interest rates in the face of a soft economic outlook at home and abroad.

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    South Korea's economy set the slowest quarterly growth in more than three years in the first quarter as demand cooled both at home and abroad, raising chances of an interest rate cut as early as next month.

  • Investors study shares prices during the morning trading at RHB private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb.3, 2006. Malaysia's key stock index rose Friday to a 15-week high as foreign funds plowed into key bluechips after a long holiday. The Composite Index of 100 blue chip stocks ended at 927.85 points, up 13.84 points or 1.5 percent from last Friday's close. (AP Photo) **MALAYSIA OUT**

    Asian stocks were mixed in the afternoon session Thursday with Japan and Australia closing lower. But the Shanghai market took centerstage, surging as much as 9.5 percent at one point after a stamp duty tax cut gave flagging Chinese stocks a boost.

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    Asian markets were stronger Wednesday, shrugging off the burden of near $120-a-barrel oil and a record high euro, to continue a rally that has recovered all the ground lost last month. Shanghai surged over 4 percent, while Australia gained 1.6 percent.