Asian shares rose across the board on Tuesday, as speculation that China may soon launch a stimulus program to boost domestic demand countered negative sentiment over Spain's deteriorating financial situation.
Fresh hopes that Greece may avoid a messy euro zone exit and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's comments that the nation could salvage its banks without external support also helped spur some bargain hunting in beaten-down stocks. Commodities also gained ground as the euro rebounded from an early slide against the dollar.
Japanese shares rose for a fourth straight session, led by China-linked shares on talk about fresh stimulus to the economy. Also, with the U.S. markets opening today after the long weekend, investors pinned their hopes that home price and consumer price data due later in the day will signal a continued recovery in the world's largest economy. The Nikkei average ended 0.7 percent higher, while the broader Topix index gained 0.8 percent.
China-linked Komatsu climbed 3.2 percent, Mitsubishi Corp. rose 1.7 percent and Hitachi Construction Machinery jumped 4.2 percent. Panasonic rallied 3.9 percent on a Nikkei report that it plans to nearly halve the number of workers at its headquarters through measures such as early retirement and transfers to subsidiaries. Major chipmaker Renesas Electronics plunged 16 percent after announcing yesterday its plan to expand the outsourcing of chip production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
In economic news, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said, slightly missing forecasts for a reading of 4.5 percent, while a separate report showed that Japanese retail sales climbed 5.8 percent from a year earlier in April.
China's Shanghai Composite index rose 1.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent after a report from the state-run Shanghai Securities News said that Beijing would introduce measures to jumpstart demand for automobiles and bolster flagging economy.
Australian shares recovered from early losses, as speculation concerning another round of Chinese stimulus measures spurred bargain hunting in beaten-down resource, energy and financial stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent, extending gains for a second consecutive session and the broader All Ordinaries index added 1.2 percent.
Global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto added 1 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, while smaller rival Fortescue soared 7.5 percent and gold miner Newcrest gained 1.3 percent. In the financial sector, NAB and Westpac rose about 0.7 percent each, while Commonwealth advanced 1.2 percent and ANZ gained 1.8 percent. Insurer Suncorp rose 1.7 percent after it unveiled a $275 million technology-simplification plan to modernize IT systems and prune costs associated with legacy infrastructure.
Among energy shares, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside rallied 2-3 percent. Retailer Wesfarmers rose 1.2 percent after the firm extended the employment contract of Coles supermarket boss Ian McLeod.
South Korea's Kospi average rallied 1.4 percent after being closed the day before for a public holiday. Large-cap shares led the gainers on bargain hunting following recent losses, while STX affiliates gained ground on talk of group-wide restructuring.
Hyundai Motor, South Korea's largest automaker, and its affiliate Kia Motor rose around 2 percent each, while chipmaker SK Hynix soared 6.6 percent, Samsung Electronics gained 1.1 percent, LG Display jumped 4.7 percent and LG Electronics added 1.5 percent. STX Pan Ocean climbed 7 percent and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding jumped 7.8 percent.
New Zealand shares rose, led by Fletcher Building, after data showed home building activity rebounded in Australia, its second-largest market. The Australian Housing Industry Association said that sales of new homes in Australia rose a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent in April following a 9.4 percent contraction in March.
Shares of Fletcher, New Zealand's largest construction company, rose 1.8 percent, dual-listed Westpac added 1.5 percent, AMP advanced 1.6 percent and ANZ ended up 2.2 percent. Whiteware manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Appliances led the gainers on the exchange, climbing 3.9 percent, while Rakon, a manufacturer of components for navigation systems and smart phones, slumped 4.1 percent. The benchmark NZX-50 index closed half a percent higher.
Elsewhere, India's benchmark Sensex was last trading up 0.3 percent, Malaysia's KLSE Composite gained 0.7 percent, Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.6 percent and the Taiwan Weighted average rallied 2.9 percent, but Indonesia's Jakarta Composite was little changed.
by RTT Staff Writer
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