Asia-Pacific Markets

Asia Closes Up in Thin Trade; Oz at 3-Wk High

CNBC with wires

China's key stock index rose on Wednesday, with telecommunications-related shares firmer on strong subscriber growth, but some recently listed companies slipped below their IPO prices with sentiment weighed down by worries over rising share supplies.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended at 3,073.777 points, managing a modest technical rebound after closing at its lowest in seven weeks on Tuesday.

Gaining Shanghai A shares outnumbered losers by 792 to 97, while turnover sank to 91 billion yuan ($13.33 billion) from Tuesday's already low 99 billion yuan.

Hong Kong shares  retreated from early an gain, edging downwards in subdued trade led by China Construction Bank, but the Hang Seng Index managed to gain momentum later in the day closing up 1.12 percent.

Still traders mostly stayed away ahead of the holiday period and on concern over further measures from the Chinese authorities to curb property market speculation.

Market debutant China Pacific Insurance, China's third-largest life insurer, topped the most heavily traded list as it struggled to hold above its issue price following a $3.1 billion IPO -- the world's seventh-largest IPO this year.

The insurer slid as to as low as HK$27.50 before recovering to HK$28.40 at midday, up 1.4 percent from its issue price of HK$28.

Australian stocks rose 0.75 percent to a three-week closing high on Wednesday, driven up banks, while Gloucester Coal surged after a takeover offer from Macarthur Coal.

Companies with heavy U.S. exposure, such as shopping mall owner Westfield Group and James Hardie, also gained on hopes of a steady recovery in the world's biggest economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index added 35.05 points to 4,739.30, based on the latest available data, its highest close since Dec. 3. The gains come on top of a 1.5 percent rise on Tuesday.

The market is scheduled to close at 0310 GMT on Thursday, two hours ahead of its usual closing time. Regular trading will resume after the Christmas break on Dec. 29.

Australia's biggest insurer, QBE, respiratory equipment maker ResMed and hearing implant maker Cochlear earn the bulk of their earnings offshore.

The Aussie dollar fell to a fresh 11-week low against a rallying U.S. dollar on Wednesday. Still, the Aussie is up about 24 percent in 2009, which has dented exporters' earnings.

Seoul shares rose on Wednesday led by technology and auto exporters including LG Electronics and Hyundai Motor, but gains were limited amid thin volume ahead of year-end holidays.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index finished up 0.35 percent at 1,661.35 points.

Shares worth 3.8 trillion won ($3.22 billion) traded on the KOSPI, compared with average daily turnover of 4.4 trillion won so far in December and 7.74 trillion won at this year's April

LG Display, the world's No.2 maker of flat screens, advanced 1.44 percent, and Hyundai Motor, South Korea's top automaker, gained 1.75 percent.

Shares in Green Cross, the sole domestic manufacturer of H1N1 vaccine, rose 3.08 percent after the firm told the Korea Exchange it had won an order for the vaccine worth
152.5 billion won ($129.3 million) from the government.

The Tokyo market was closed Wednesday for a holiday.

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