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Most Asian Markets Fall

September 18, 1998

HONG KONG (AP) _ Stock prices were lower in early trading today in Europe and finished mostly lower in Asia in the wake a big decline on Wall Street. The Japanese stock market finished slightly higher, however.

Market indicators fell 7.5 percent in the Philippines and 4.8 percent in Indonesia, but bounced back 0.89 percent from Thursday’s 12-year low in Japan.

In Europe, London’s Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100-share index was off by 0.9 percent by midday while the Xetra DAX in Germany was off by 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 was off by 0.8 percent in France.

Brokers attributed the slump largely to Thursday’s tumble on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average shed 216.01 points, or 2.7 percent.

``The market was bullish″ earlier this week amid hopes of a U.S. interest rate cut, said Philip Niem, an analyst with HSBC Securities. But these hopes have been dashed by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent comments.

Philippine shares tumbled on profit-taking sparked by a steep fall in the stock of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

After takeover rumors ignited a 25 percent jump in PLDT’s share price Thursday, the stock plunged 17 percent today.

In Indonesia, the key index closed at a six-year low amid lingering fears that the Indonesian government may impose capital controls.

But in Tokyo, the benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 123.98 points, closing the day’s trading at 13,983.12. The rise followed a 2.38 percent decline on Thursday.

Traders said investors were hopeful Japan’s ruling and opposition parties would reach a compromise on banking reform in time for Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s visit to the United States next week.

Stocks also fell in Singapore where the main index slid 3 percent, and stocks in Hong Kong slumped for the second straight session with the key Hang Seng Index losing 1.7 percent.

Elsewhere, key stock market indicators finished down 2.8 percent in Korea, 0.5 percent in Taiwan, 1.5 percent in New Zealand and 0.1 percent in Australia. Prices rose in Malaysia and Thailand.

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