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Markets higher, Seoul rebounds

Written by: Staff

HONG KONG, Mar 23 (Reuters) Asian stocks rose on Thursday, with Sydney hitting a new high and Seoul bouncing off a five-week closing low as tech issues such as Samsung Electronics rebounded after gains in their U.S. peers.

At 0025 GMT, Tokyo's Nikkei had climbed 0.77 percent thanks to rises of about 1 percent in top casual wear chain Fast Retailing and car maker Honda Motor.

TDK Corp. added 1.5 percent after the electronic components maker said it would pay a record dividend of 90 yen per share for the year ending this month, following a trend set by firms such as Toshiba Corp.

In South Korea, the KOSPI index jumped 1.06 percent, clawing back some of Wednesday's 2.01 percent loss as market heavyweight Samsung Electronics and steel maker POSCO regained ground.

''U.S. stocks rose despite the problems at Microsoft, and that will allow for a rebound,'' said Kim Jeong-hwan, a strategist at Woori Investment and Securities, referring to the delayed release of Microsoft Corp's Vista operating system.

Kookmin Bank surged 5.9 percent. The bank has been selected as the preferred bidder to buy Korea Exchange Bank from U.S.

fund Lone Star.

Australian shares were up 0.46 percent at 5,036.5 after earlier setting a new high of 5,042.1 on renewed strength in resource issues such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, both up over 1.5 percent.

On Wall Street, blue chips climbed 0.73 percent on Wednesday while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index put on 0.40 percent.

Reuters DH VP0625

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