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Asian Markets Update: Nikkei Rises as Market Anticipates Tech Profits

In Hong Kong, Pacific Century Cyberworks fell on rumors Cable & Wireless may sell its stake.

TOKYO -- Traders were busy closing out positions before a long weekend in Tokyo, but the mood was upbeat as the market started to focus on the expected jump in fiscal first-half profits of many large technology firms.

The

Nikkei 225

index rose 22.76 to close at 16,213.28, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, climbed 0.54 to finish at 1483.59. The

Jasdaq

small-cap index fell 0.04 to stand at 78.06, while the Nikkei

over-the-counter

index shed 1.74 to end at 1642.31.

Local papers have been in a rush to print fiscal first-half profit estimates for many of the large electronic parts makers beforethe first half ends Sept. 30. This in turn boosted market sentiment, enough to beat out pressure from unwinding cross-shareholdings in large blue-chips, traders said.

Among investors' current favorites are

NEC

(NIPNY)

, up 50 yen, or 1.8%, to 2830 ($26.42), game maker

Konami

, up 840, or 9.3%, to 9900 and

Toshiba

, up 27, or 2.7%, to 1015.

Japan's auto sector keeps changing face, this time with

Suzuki Motor

. U.S. auto giant

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

said overnight it would

double its current stake in Suzuki to 20%.

Shares of the

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi

TheStreet Recommends

fell 17, or 1.3%, to 1252 despite news of a share swap with other conglomerate member financial institutions. Late Wednesday, the

Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group

, the holding company under which BTM and two other Mitsubishi group banks are set to reorganize, said it aims to post 490 billion yen in net profits in fiscal 2003. The holding company, scheduled to be set up by April, will be made up of BTM,

Mitsubishi Trust & Banking

, and

Nippon Trust Bank

.

The greenback edged higher against the yen recently to buy 107.13.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index edged 234.35 points lower, or 1.4%, to close at 16,395.43. Action was largely profit-taking in property shares.

Cheung Kong

was flat at HK$96.75 ($12.41), while

New World Development

slid 0.15, or 1.2%, to 12.05.

Investors worried about the supply-demand ratio for

Pacific Century Cyberworks

(PCW)

put a dent in share prices today, down 0.65, or 5.3%, to 11.55. Many investors are afraid

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

will dump its stake in Pacific Century in the next few weeks and flood the market. There's also talk that the share placement may be below current prices, which hurt sentiment even further.

Higher oil prices also affected airline shares, with

Cathay Pacific

shedding 0.60, or 4.1%, to 14.05.

Taiwan's

TWSE

index shed 239.37, or 3.2%, to close at 7152.29 after investors dumped shares of computer parts makers on expectations of slowing demand for personal computers. Meanwhile, Korea's

Kospi

index fell 3.54 to stand at 650.14.