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Asian Markets Recover After Weak Start

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Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Thursday with investors picking up stocks after recent losses. Most of the markets in the region started off on a highly negative note, tracking a weak lead from the U.S. and European markets, but recovered well to climb into positive territory as the session progressed.

Though there are no big positive triggers, traders appear a bit keen on covering some short positions at several front line counters.

The Australian stock market recovered after a weak start and significantly cut down early losses with investors indulging in some bargain hunting.

Mining, energy, healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks are mostly trading lower. Financial and industrial stocks are trading mixed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, which declined to 4,336.9, is currently trading at 4,361, down just 0.6 points from its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is down 2.3 points at 4,380.2, more than 20 points off the day's low of 4,357.9.

Among top miners BHP Billiton (BHP: Quote, BBL) is down 0.6 percent, while Rio Tinto (RIO,RIO.L) is trading in positive territory with a marginal gain.

Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank (ANZ: Quote), Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are up marginally, while Westpac (WBK: Quote) is trading flat. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is up 0.3 percent and Bank of Queensland is trading lower by about 0.8 percent.

Lynas Corporation is trading nearly 4 percent up. Boral, Boart Longyear and Downer EDI are up 2 to 2.2 percent.

Oz Minerals, Monadelphous Group, Incitec Pivot, CSL, ALS, Perseus Mining, Graincorp and QR National are trading higher by 1.3 to 2 percent.

Seven West Media shares are down more than 4 percent. PanAust, Whitehaven Coal, Fairfax Media, Metcash, Alumina (AWC: Quote), GPT Group and Oil Search are trading lower by 1.3 to 2 percent.

The Japanese market opened lower with investors indulging in selling once again, amid persisting worries about the financial situation in the Eurozone.

The overnight negative close in the U.S. and European markets and weak economic data from China too hurt sentiment to a notable extent in early trades.

However, with traders going in for some short-covering and bargain hunting at lower levels, the market regained most of the lost ground and was down just marginally when the morning session ended.

Oil, mining, machinery, non-ferrous metals and rubber stocks are mostly trading weak. Electric power, railway and pharmaceuticals stocks started off on a firm note, but are currently trading off their highs.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which declined to 8,844 in early trades, recovered well subsequently and was down just 3 points at 8,903.7 at the end of the morning session.

Aozora Bank, which plunged more than 8 percent, was the most most prominent loser in the Nikkei index. Meidensha Corp. shares were down 4.8 percent.

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Mitsui Chemicals, Sharp Corp. and Ebara lost more than 2 percent. IHI Corp., Kobe Steel, J Front Retailing, Casio Computer, Nissan Chemical Industries, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Shinsei Bank and Sumco Corp. were also trading notably lower at the break.

Among the gainers in the Nikkei index, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Furukawa were up more than 4 percent. Mitsumi Electric moved up by about 3.3 percent.

Sumitomo Osaka Cement, Asahi Glass, Nippon Yusen KK, Komatsu, Pioneer Corp., Nippon Steel, Nippon Electric Glass, Chubua Electric Power, Honda Motor (HMC: Quote), Suzuki Motor and Showa Denko KK also posted strong gains. Tobu Railway moved higher following the company upgrading its profit forecast for financial year 2012.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 77 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 77.66 to the dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are trading notably higher, while Shanghai, New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea are up marginally. Markets across the region had ended lower on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Wednesday, amid lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe. A weak U.S. housing report also contributed to the decline.

The Dow ended down 44 points or 0.3 percent at 13,413.5, while the Nasdaq declined 24 points or 0.8 percent to 3,093.7 and the S&P 500 slid 8.3 points or 0.6 percent to 1,433.2.

Major European markets too ended lower on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index drifted down by 1.6 percent, the German DAX index and the French CAC index plunged by 2 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil ended sharply lower on Wednesday, on demand growth concerns as the Eurozone problems continued unabated, despite an unexpected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles for the week ended September 21.

Crude for November delivery plunged $1.39 or 1.5 percent to close at $89.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $91.34 a barrel early on in the session.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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