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Nikkei rebounds to above 10,000

Canon rose over two percent.
Canon rose over two percent.

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TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- Japan's Nikkei average rebounded over one percent to end above 10,000 on Thursday, with auto makers and other exporters climbing after suspected Bank of Japan intervention sent the yen lower.

The tech-heavy Nikkei index finished up 1.66 percent or 164.58 points at 10,075.14.

Hong Kong closed at its highest level in over two years and there were also gains for Singapore and Taiwan. South Korea, Australia and New Zealand all dipped.

The Nikkei's rise was not strong enough to completely make up for the previous day's 2.11 percent decline when chip-related firms posted falls on disappointing earnings in the industry.

Canon, Toyota Motor Co and Honda Motor, which all rose more than two percent. Nissan was up 1.4 percent.

The broader TOPIX index put on 1.06 percent to 990.93.

In South Korea, shares reversed early gains with the Kospi closing a touch lower, down 0.44 percent to 791.13.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index put on 1.26 percent to 12,544.58, its highest close since July 2001.

Hutchison Whampoa jumped 5.56 percent to HK$57 ahead of the launch of its 3G service.

Taiwan stocks reversed recent losses, with the Taiex index ending 1.1 percent higher.

Financial group, Cathay Financial Holding rose 2.94 percent to T$52.50 after announcing November profit before expenses and taxes jumped 247 percent from a year ago to T$2.48 billion.

The world's second largest contract microchip maker, United Microelectronics Corp, rose 2.8 percent to T$29.40.

Australian stocks ended weaker after globally exposed miners fell on concerns that earnings would be hurt by a strong local currency.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.7 percent lower at 3,189.4 in relatively light trade as activity slowed in the run up to Christmas.

BHP Billiton fell 1.8 percent to A$11.54 while Rio Tinto slipped 1.3 percent to A$35.66.

New Zealand's Top 50 index was marginally lower at 2374.32, down 0.07 percent.

Singapore's Straits Times index nudged 0.53 percent higher to 1,720.19. Singapore Airlines shed 2.5 percent to $11.50, but big bank DBS added 2.1 percent to end at $14.50.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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