18 Mar 2009

Markets mixed after rise on Wall Street

9:17 pm on 18 March 2009

Japanese shares ended at a fresh five-week high on Wednesday, rising for a fourth straight day on a positive lead from Wall Street and central bank efforts to ease the credit crunch.

The Nikkei-225 index gained 23.04 points, or 0.29%, to 7,972.17, the highest closing level since 6 February.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 4.03 points, or 0.53%, to 764.67.

Investors were cheered by overnight gains on Wall Street fuelled by some unexpected good news from the battered housing sector.

In New Zealand, the benchmark index was up 41 points to 2606 at the close on market turnover of $83 million.

But the Australian share market closed marginally lower, dragged back from early highs by resource stocks including Rio Tinto as political opposition intensified over the planned $A19.5 billion investment by China's state-owned Chinalco.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 5.6 points, or 0.16%, at 3446.3, while the broader All Ordinaries declined 7.2 points, or 0.21%, to 3386.2.