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Regional stocks rebound after Wall Street rally

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October 1, 2008

Regional stocks rebound after Wall Street rally
Southeast Asian stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday after a powerful rally overnight on Wall Street as hopes grew of a new US financial rescue package, reported news agencies.

The US Senate is expected to vote as soon as Wednesday evening on a revised 700-billion-dollar Wall Street bailout, after the House of Representatives sparked renewed market turmoil by rejecting the original package, reported AFP.

But gains in Asia were limited by ongoing doubts about the plan.

On Tuesday, Asian governments from South Korea to Indonesia stepped in swiftly to try to prop up markets reeling from an overnight plunge in the United States after US lawmakers rejected a $700 billion plan rescue plan for the financial industry, Reuters said.

Throughout the region, finance authorities and central banks spoke up to defend the soundness of their economies and acted by tightening stock-selling rules and buying tumbling currencies hurt by the flight of money from emerging markets.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government was maintaining its growth forecast of 5.5-5.8 percent for the year, adding the country was on track with opening its markets despite the Wall Street collapse.

Indonesia's stock exchange said it would prohibit short selling of stocks in October, and South Korea said it would do so for the time being while at the same time increasing the amount of shares firms are allowed to buy back.

The restrictions or outright bans on short selling follow similar actions by US and European regulators this month, and come as Asian stocks head in September for their biggest monthly slide since the financial crisis a decade ago.

The Philippine central bank sold dollars on Tuesday to prop up the peso, while the Bank of Thailand intervened on the baht to keep its moves in line with other Asian currencies though it did not specify which action had been taken.

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