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Asian Stock Markets Close Higher

January 26, 1998

HONG KONG (AP) _ Asian stock markets closed generally higher, with share prices continuing to rise in Tokyo on optimism that the Japanese government plans to boost the country’s faltering economy. Indonesia’s battered stocks were sharply higher.

Tokyo’s Nikkei stock index was up 1.69 percent to close at 17,073.33. The Nikkei has gained 16.4 percent over the last two weeks.

Stocks rose after a senior ruling party official, Taku Yamasaki, said on a Sunday television talk show that the government should lower corporate tax rates.

Traders said the comment was a sign that Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s government will postpone planned fiscal austerity measures and concentrate more on shoring up the ailing economy.

In Indonesia, the key Jakarta stock index rose 5 percent because of foreign buying in telecommunication and mining shares. Dealers said that the buying in the cheap telecommunication shares dominated the market, accounting for almost half of the total transactions on Monday.

The beleaguered Indonesian currency also closed higher against the dollar in the spot market. The rupiah closed at 13,550 to the dollar from its close at 14,500 rupiah on Friday.

Malaysian share prices closed 2 percent higher while the markets were closed in Taiwan and Australia for holidays. Other markets:

SEOUL: Share prices closed 1.7 percent higher on optimism over ongoing debt talks in New York between South Korean financial authorities and international bankers.

MANILA: Share prices closed 1.5 percent higher after three straight sessions of declines.

HONG KONG: Share prices closed 0.6 percent higher.

WELLINGTON: New Zealand share prices closed slightly lower.

SINGAPORE: Share prices closed down 0.3 percent.

BANGKOK: Thai share prices closed down 0.4 percent, with investors unclear about the market’s direction ahead of the Chinese New Year.

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