Asian stock markets are trading notably higher on Tuesday with investors indulging in fairly heavy buying amid slightly easing worries about the financial situation in Europe ahead of the European Union Summit and on the Chinese government's pledge to bolster its economy.
Bargain hunting after recent weakness is also contributing to an extent for the upmove in some of the markets in the region.
Energy stocks are leading the pack of gainers in the Australian market. Several stocks from industrial and financial sectors are also trading notably higher. Mining, property trusts and consumer discretionary stocks are finding good support.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which rose to 4,111.2, is currently trading at 4,102, up 28.4 points or 0.7 percent from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up 29.6 points or 0.7 percent at 4.154, nearly 10 points off the day's high of 4,163.3.
Among energy stocks, Oil Search is up 2.3 percent, Origin Energy is gaining 2.2 percent and Caltex Australia is up 1.5 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are trading higher by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton is up 0.7 percent, Rio Tinto is trading 2.2 percent higher and Fortescue Metals is up with a gain of 3.3 percent. However, Newcrest Mining is trading in negative territory with a loss of 1.3 percent.
In the banking space, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are up 0.5 to 0.7 percent, while ANZ Bank is up marginally. Bank of Queensland is up 1.6 percent, while Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is down marginally.
Graincorp Ltd shares are up by around 7 percent following upbeat results. The company has lifted first-half profit by more than 50 percent to A$133.7 million and expects full-year profit between A$185 million and A$205 million, up from a previous forecast of A$165 million to A$185 million.
Leighton Holdings is up nearly 3 percent following an announcement from the company that it is likely to report a full-year profit of between A$400 million and A$450 million.
Monadelphous Group shares are trading higher by nearly 6.5 percent. Iluka Resources, Onesteel, Campbell Brothers, James Hardie Industries, Panaust, Boart Longyear, Perseus Mining and QR National are up 3 to 5 percent.
Dexus Property Group, Beach Energy, Toll Holdings, Regis Resources, Alumina and WorleyParsons are also up with strong gains.
The Japanese stock market started off on a bright note with investors indulging in some hectic buying, buoyed by a strong lead from Wall Street and a pause in the yen's rise against the greenback and the euro.
Machinery, steel, non-ferrous metals, real estate and financial stocks posted smart gains. Electric power, foods and pharmaceuticals stocks traded mixed.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 84.7 points or nearly a percent at 8,718.6 at the end of the morning session.
Kawasaki Kisen, Komatsu, Oki Electric Industry, Sumco Corp, Nippon Yusen and Kubota Corp moved up by 4 to 5.5 percent.
Kobe Steel, Sumitomo Osaka Sement, Minebea, Fanuc Corp, Yahoo Japan, Sony Corp, Advantest Corp, Inpex, Pacific Metals, Fuji Heavy Industries, Nippon Sheet Glass, Mitsui OSK Lines and Sumitomo Metal Industries gained 2 to 3.3 percent.
In the automobile space, Nissan Motor, Mazda Motor, Isuzu Motors, Hino Motors, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor advanced by 1.3 to 3.3 percent. Mitsubishi Motor and Suzuki Motor declined marginally.
Among bank stocks, Bank of Yokohama, Chiba Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial, SMFG and Shinsei Bank gained 0.8 to 1.5 percent, while Aozora Bank and Shizuoka Bank were down trading modestly lower.
Terumo Corp shares lost more than 2 percent. Dentsu Inc., Nippon Suisan, Nisshin Seifun Group. Nippon Telegraph, Shionogi, GS Yuasa and Chubu Electric Power were also trading notably lower.
According to data released by the Finance Ministry, net foreign assets held by the Japanese government, businesses and individuals abroad increased for the first time in two years at the end of 2011, following an increase in acquisitions of foreign companies and other forms of direct investment. The balance of Japan's foreign net assets came to 253.01 trillion yen, up 0.6 percent from a year earlier.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 79 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.40 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are up with strong gains, with their benchmark indices moving up by 1 to 1.6 percent. Shanghai, Malaysia and Taiwan are also trading notably higher. Markets across the region had turned in a mixed performance on Monday.
On Wall Street, stocks posted strong gains on Monday, due largely to bargain hunting after recent losses. The major averages ended the session just off their highs. While the Dow rose 135.1 points or 1.1 percent to 12,504.5, the Nasdaq jumped 68.4 points or 2.5 percent to 2,847.2 and the S&P 500 moved up 20.8 points or 1.6 percent to 1,316.
Major European markets too surged higher on Monday. The German DAX index advanced by 1 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index gained 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures ended higher on Monday, due largely to speculative buying. Crude for June delivery ended up $1.09 at 92.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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