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Asian Stock Markets Close Higher

August 20, 2002

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HONG KONG (AP) _ Most Asian stock markets closed higher Tuesday, boosted by a sharp rally overnight on Wall Street.

Tokyo’s benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 21.59 points, or 0.22 percent, to 9,620.69.

The overnight rise on Wall Street and the sinking value of the yen helped push the Nikkei higher. But traders cautioned that the advance was fragile, in part because there was a lack of fresh domestic news to drive the buying.

Export companies got a boost from the weaker yen, which makes their products seem cheaper and more competitive overseas. It also improves their overseas profits.

Wall Street stocks surged Monday following news of stronger retail earnings and two straight weeks of gains across its major indexes.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 212.73 points, or 2.4 percent, at 8,990.79, while the Nasdaq composite index closed up 33.53 points, or 2.5 percent, at 1,394.54.

In currency trading, the dollar was quoted at 118.80 yen, up 0.60 yen from late Monday in Tokyo and above its late New York level of 118.57 yen.

South Korean shares ended sharply higher as investors snapped up blue chips after Monday’s gains in U.S. stocks.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 2.7 percent, or 19.12 points, to 736.70.

In Hong Kong, the main Hang Seng Index rose 161.05 points, or 1.57 percent, ending at 10,408.01. On Monday, the index had slipped 18.08 points, or 0.17 percent.

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