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Asia stocks close out grim 2008 with a whimper

Asia stocks close out grim 2008 with a whimper

The handful of bourses still trading in Asia on New Year's Eve ended one of the worst years ever for global stock markets with a suitable whimper.
Trading was sparse in half-day sessions across the region as investors took stock of a grim year that saw major benchmarks shed halve their values as the global economic crisis unfolded.
"No one's expecting next year to be a gradual climb. I think everyone is expecting there to be an awful lot of uncertainty, very high levels of volatility," said Miles Remington, head of Asian sales trading at BNP Paribas Securities in Hong Kong. "It's not going to be an easy year."
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 152 points, or 1.1 percent, to end at 14,387.48 _ 48 percent lower that where it started the year. Australia's key index added 1.9 percent but stock averages in Mumbai, Shanghai, Malaysia and Singapore fell modestly.
Markets in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand were closed for the holiday.
Asian markets were mixed despite gains on Wall Street, where investors were relieved by news that General Motors Corp.'s troubled financing arm received $5 billion of financing through the U.S. government's bank rescue program.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 184.46, or 2.2 percent, to 8,668.39.
Broader indexes also moved higher, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index up 21.22, or 2.4 percent, to 890.64.
U.S. futures were little changed, suggesting a flat open for Wall Street's last session of 2008.
Oil prices were lower in Asian trade, with light, sweet crude for February delivery falling 51 cents to $38.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by late afternoon in Singapore. The contract overnight fell 99 cents to $39.03.
The dollar weakened to 90.20 yen, down from 90.30 yen. The euro slipped to $1.4095.


Updated : 2021-05-16 08:38 GMT+08:00