date:Max Planck Inst Astrophys, D-85740 Garching, Germany; ESA, Div Astrophys, ISO Sci Operat Ctr, E-28080 Madrid, Spain
Near-infrared photometry is obtained of 30 IRAS sources in the direction of the Small Magellanic Cloud selected to be possible AGB stars. Low resolution 4000 to 10 000 Angstrom spectroscopy is presented for 10 of them, plus two AGB stars in the LMC. Improved IRAS fluxes are obtained using the GIPSY package. Based on the optical spectra and analyses of colour-colour diagrams 9 are confirmed or likely carbon stars, and 8 are confirmed or likely oxygen-rich AGB stars. In three cases no near-infrared counterpart could be identified. The remaining 10 objects have the colours of mass-losing AGB stars, but not enough information is available to comment on the chemical type. In two of these cases there is a mismatch between the near-infrared and IRAS colours possibly indicating unusually large variability, or misidentification of the IRAS sources.