Asian stock markets are mostly trading notably higher on Monday with investors indulging in some brisk buying, betting on hopes that the U.S. and European governments with announce some stimulus measures to boost the sagging economies.
Financial, mining, industrial, property trusts and healthcare stocks are mostly up with sharp gains in the Australian market. Energy and consumer staples stocks are trading slightly mixed.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 40.2 points or 0.9 percent at 4,250. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,270.5, up 36.1 points or 0.9 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are up 1.5 to 1.8 percent and Westpac is trading higher by about 1 percent. Bank of Queensland and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are up 1.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
In the mining space, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Newcrest Mining are up 1.5 to 2 percent, while Fortescue Metals is adding about 0.5 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Caltex Australia are up 0.3 to 0.8 percent, while Oil Search and Origin Energy are trading flat.
Iluka Resources is trading higher by more than 7 percent. Resmed Inc, Panaust, Arrium, Goodman Group, Incitec Pivot and Asciano are up 2 to 3 percent.
Campbell Brothers, Monadelphous Group, Boral and News Corporation are up nearly 2 percent. Downer EDI, Qantas Airways, Leighton Holdings, Oz Minerals, Stockland, Mirvac Group and Regis Resources are also trading notably higher.
The Japanese stock market opened on a bright note on Monday with investors indulging in some heavy buying at several counters following a strong lead from the U.S. and European markets. However, after a brisk start, the market gave up some gains with investors turning slightly cautious at higher levels.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which rose to 8,663.3 in early trades, was up 53.2 points or 0.6 percent at 8,619.8 at the end of the morning session.
Precision instruments, pulp & paper, insurance, financial and automobile stocks started off on a firm note. Electric power stocks drifted lower in opening trades, Retail, communications, foods and chemicals stocks are trading mixed.
Konica Minolta Holdings Inc shares gained 7.5 percent following the company reporting a 94 percent surge in first-quarter operating profit. Takara Holdings also moved up by over 7 percent. Fujifilm Holdings surged up 6.5 percent.
NTN Corp, Showa Denko KK, Mitsubishi Materials, T&D Holdings, Pacific Metals, Mitsumi Electric, Fuji Electric, Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Yahoo Japan, Nippon Yusen KK, Suzuki Motor, Mitsubishi Motors and Bridgestone Corp gained 2.5 to 4 percent.
NTT DoCoMo jumped on fairly impressive April-June quarter results. Nippon Light Metal, Shinsei Bank, TDK Corp, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Mitsui OSK Lines, Trend Micro and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings also posted strong gains.
Fujitsu Ltd share are down by over 12 percent. Kansai Electric Power is trading lower by 4.4 percent. Advantest Corp is down 3.4 percent and Chubu Electric Power is down with a loss of 2.3 percent.
Komatsu, Tokyo Electric Power, NTT Data Corp, Showa Denko KK, Japan Tobacco and JFE Holdings are also trading weak.
On the economic front, industrial output in Japan eased a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent on month in June, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Monday's preliminary reading. That was well shy of forecasts for a 1.5 percent increase following the 3.4 percent contraction in May.
On a yearly basis, industrial production fell 2.0 percent - also missing expectations for a contraction of 0.1 percent following the 6.0 percent jump in the previous month.
Upon the release of the data, the METI downgraded its assessment of industrial production, saying: "Industrial production appears to be flat."
Meanwhile, Japan booked a trade deficit of 368.8 billion yen between July 1 and 10, going into the red for the first time in two months on an early month basis, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Finance Ministry.
Exports contracted 11.1 percent on the year to 1.534 trillion yen, dragged down by sluggish growth in vessels, computer parts, and science and optical equipment amid concerns over a global economic slowdown. However, exports of automobiles expanded.
Imports grew 16.5 percent to 1.903 trillion yen, led by increased imports of liquified natural gas for thermal power generation and those of automobiles and communications equipment.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar gained some strength after trading in the lower 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.35 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably higher. Indonesia is up with modest gains and Malaysia is up marginally, while Shanghai is trading slightly weak. Markets across the region had ended higher on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply higher on Friday, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session, thanks to some upbeat U.S. economic data as well as the latest news out of Europe.
The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory, with the Dow closing above 13,000 for the first time in well over two months. The Dow jumped 187.7 points or 1.5 percent to 13,075.7, the Nasdaq soared 64.8 points or 2.2 percent to 2,958.1 and the S&P 500 spiked up 26 points or 1.9 percent at 1,386.
Majot European markets too ended with strong gains on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index moved up by 1 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index gained 1.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil settled higher on Friday, extending gains to a fourth successive day, due largely on assurances from leaders of France and Germany that they will spare no efforts to protect the eurozone.
Crude for September delivery gained $0.74 or 0.8 percent to close at $90.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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