Record Gold Prices Send Asian Mining Shares Sky High

In Asia Friday Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.3% to 21,971 and China's Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.1% to 2,599. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.2% to end the week at 9,626.

The price of gold clocked up a second record high this week, reaching $1,280.80 per ounce today. Analysts expect further gains this year with some, including Midas Fund president Tom Winmill, predicting it will pass $1,400, as he explained to Investors are once again flocking to the precious metal to protect their wealth.

A falling dollar usually spurs investors to invest in bullion and other precious metals. In today's trading silver and platinum were also pushed higher. This year September is maintaining its reputation as gold's favorite month, and investors who acted on this trend were rewarded.

In Hong Kong, gold miners shot up with Real Gold surging 6%, G-Resources, a Hong Kong-listed firm operating gold and silver mines in Sumatra, Indonesia, soaring 3.4%, Zhaojin Mining Industry rising 2.8% and Zijin Mining up 1.2%. Mining companies dealing in other resources also headed north: Jiangxi Copper jumped 1.9% and Aluminum Corp. of China advanced 1.7%.

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Hong Kong energy companies rose with Huadian Power International climbing 6%, Huaneng Power International leaping 5% and China Resource Power rising 1.7%.

Among Hong Kong real estate firms, New World Development surged 4.3%, Sun Hung Kai jumped 4.5%, Wharf Holdings, the operator of several major malls and Hong Kong's iconic Star Ferry, rallied 3.7% and Cheung Kong climbed 1.8%. Losers included China Overseas, which slumped 0.7% and Hang Lung, which declined 0.9%.

Other Hong Kong companies making big gains today included shoe company Belle International, which rose 4.7%, cargo shipper Cosco Pacific, which gained 4.7% and Cathay Pacific Airways, which leaped 3.4%.

In China, mining companies also cashed in on the surge in the price of gold and other valuable metals. Smelter Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead rocketed up 7%, Shandong Gold Mining spiked 3.3% and Zhongjin Gold, which also produces silver, copper and sulphuric acid, closed up 3.1%.

Chinese pharmaceutical companies made gains again today after yesterday's sell off. North China Pharmaceutical surged 7.7%, Kangmei Pharmaceutical, a maker of antibiotics and other medical products rose 5.7% and Yunnan Baiyao Group, a traditional Chinese medicine company, racked up a 4.6% gain.

Chinese breweries were a good bet as investors anticipated the upcoming holidays including the Mid-Autumn Festival -- a holiday marked by all-night beach picnics and parties to celebrate the full moon. Those celebrating lay out circles of candles in the sand meant to mirror the moon and consume various round foods, including moon cakes, pomelos, eggs -- and of course beer from round cans. Today Chongqing Brewery soared 9% and Tsingtao Brewery climbed 5.5%. China Resources Enterprise, which brews Snow Beer in a joint enterprise with SABMiller, gained 2.3%. Snow beer is the best- selling beer in the world.

In Japan stocks continued to rise, bolstered by this week's government currency intervention and promises by the finance minister to act again if needed. Consumer credit company, Credit Saison, rallied 7.6% and lenders scored huge gains with Takefuji skyrocketing 7.5%, Acom surging 6.7% and Promise advancing 6.4%.

Another dip in the Japanese currency today pushed this week's decline against the dollar to a total of 1.8%. This was good news for Japanese exporters, which forged ahead today. Toyota motored up 3.9%, Mazda leaped 2%, Honda rose 1.9% and Isuzu gained 0.7%. Among electronics makers Casio Computer rose 4.4% Pioneer gained 2.5% and Sony added 1.4%. Japanese investors can spend the weekend satisfied that re-electing Prime Minister Kan this week was a good move for their stock portfolios.