Asian Markets Off in Quiet Trading

<i> Reuters</i>

The few Asian stock markets open today closed lower in quiet trading due to mounting concern over the Persian Gulf crisis and the fact that most investors took Christmas Eve off.

The war fears pushed the Australian stock market to its lowest close for the year in thin and cautious trading. The All Ordinaries index closed 1.5 points lower at 1,270.7, its lowest since Feb. 29, 1988, when it hit 1,250.7.

Hong Kong’s blue chip Hang Seng index fell 18.72 points to 3,060.95 in thin, sluggish half-day trade.

Taiwan’s weighted index shed 74.20 points to 4,093.61 in a heavy selloff ahead of Tuesday’s holiday.


The Wellington and Singapore stock markets were closed for the Christmas holiday, while the Tokyo market was shut for the emperor’s birthday.