HONG KONG, March 16 (AFP): Asian stocks closed mixed Thursday with profit takers cashing-up on markets which are trading around their highest levels since the peak of the Internet boom five years ago.
Dealers said the recent sharp gains were enough to tempt investors wishing to cash-out, despite an overnight rally on Wall Street lending a positive lead to the region.
Some markets were also pestered again by inflation fears linked to oil prices and the prospect of further interest rate hikes, particularly in Tokyo which fell 1.47 per cent.
TOKYO: Share prices closed 1.37 per cent lower as investors took profits despite fresh near five-year highs seen on Wall Street overnight.
The Nikkei-225 index fell 222.83 points to 16,096.21 as 1.78 billion shares changed hands.
SEOUL: Share prices closed up 0.15 per cent after surrendering early gains made on a Wall Street-driven rally as retail investors took quick profits.
The KOSPI index added 2.0 points at 1,335.98 on volume of 308 million shares worth 3.0 trillion won (3.0 billion dollars).
HONG KONG: Share prices closed flat as investors were reluctant to take positions ahead of 2005 results announcement from China Mobile.
The Hang Seng Index closed up 8.68 points at 15,729.04. Turnover was 24.47 billion Hong Konog dollars (3.16 billion US dollars).
TAIPEI: Share prices closed 0.21 per cent lower as short-term investors took advantage of further overnight gains on Wall Street to lock in profits.
The weighted index shed 13.72 points at the day's low of 6,504.98 on increased turnover of 129.77 billion Taiwan dollars (4.01 billion US).
SINGAPORE: Share prices closed flat in the absence of a fresh trading lead, with pressure on DBS Bank and its bid for a South Korean bank.
The Straits Times Index edged up 0.91 points at 2,498.93 on volume of 1.22 billion shares worth 1.18 billion Singapore dollars (733 million US).
KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices closed 0.12 per cent lower on fresh concerns about further fuel price hikes.
The composite index slipped 1.09 points at 923.15 and volume was 1.05 billion shares worth 1.07 billion ringgit (289 million dollars).
BANGKOK: Share prices closed 0.17 per cent lower as investors stayed on the sidelines amid a growing political crisis over the leadership of embattled Premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The composite index fell 1.25 points to 739.96 on turnover of 4.4 billion shares worth 15.3 billion baht (392 million dollars) traded.
JAKARTA: Share prices added 2.36 per cent for a record finish led by the banks and Bumi Resources after reports the miner was ready to sell several units in a massive deal.
The composite index closed up 29.356 points at 1,273.797, breaking its previous record high of 1,262.690 achieved last Monday. Volume was 2.39 billion shares worth 2.31 trillion rupiah (253 million dollars).
MANILA: Share prices closed 0.65 per cent higher after further gains on Wall Street and support for banks after the extension of a law that allows sales of idle assets.
The composite index added 13.86 points to 2,141.77. Volume reached 568.5 million shares worth 1.7 billion pesos.
MUMBAI: Share prices rose 0.71 per cent to a record close on fresh overseas and domestic funds buying in index blue chips in banking, software and refinery stocks.
The 30-share Sensex index closed 77.02 points up at 10,878.74.