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A Briefing for Investors

Ticker Talk

July 02, 1998|TOM PETRUNO

Attention speculators: If you're convinced that Asian stock markets are due for at least a short-term rebound after their devastating second-quarter declines, there are plenty of easy ways to play it.

Closed-end Asian stock funds trading on the New York Stock Exchange are one idea. For example, the Korea Fund (ticker symbol: KF) jumped 81 cents, or 13%, to $7.13 on Wednesday, tracking a surge in South Korean shares overnight. The Singapore Growth Fund (SGF) soared 63 cents, or nearly 10%, to $7.

But be aware of the wide bid-asked price spreads on many of these thinly traded "country funds." For example, the last bid price for Singapore Growth on Wednesday was $6.88, while the asked price was $7.25. That's a 5.4% difference.

Other ways to play an Asian bounce include NYSE-listed stocks of Asian companies, such as Korea's Pohang Iron & Steel (PKX), up $1 to close at $13 on Wednesday; and open-ended Asia region mutual funds, though they are less suited for traders than long-term investors.

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