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Asian Markets In Positive Territory

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Tuesday following the overnight gains on Wall Street after a report from the Commerce Department showed an unexpected uptick in U.S. retail sales in January. Investor sentiment was also boosted by news that British Prime Minister Theresa May has managed to win legally binding assurances from the European Union in an updated Brexit deal just ahead of a vote in the British parliament later today.

The Australian market is advancing. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 25.90 points or 0.42 percent to 6,206.10, after rising to a high of 6,222.90 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is advancing 27.30 points or 0.44 percent to 6,290.60. Australian stocks declined on Monday.

Oil stocks are higher after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent overnight. Santos is gaining more than 2 percent, Woodside Petroleum is up more than 1 percent and Oil Search is advancing 1 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals, Rio Tinto and BHP Group are all advancing more than 1 percent each.

In the banking space, National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are rising in a range of 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent, while ANZ Banking is declining 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, gold miners are weak after a decline in gold prices. Newcrest Mining is down 2 percent and Evolution Mining is lower by more than 1 percent.

Intellectual property company IPH Limited has made a hostile takeover bid worth A$1.97 per share in cash and stock for Xenith IP Group, just three weeks before Xenith shareholders vote on a merger with QANTM Intellectual Property. Shares of IPH are rising almost 3 percent, while those of Xenith are gaining more than 12 percent.

McGrath Ltd. said its chief financial officer Glynn Wright has resigned and will leave the company in June, after less than eighteen months in the job. Shares of the realtor are declining almost 2 percent.

In economic news, Australia will release January figures for home loans as well as February results for the indexes for business confidence and conditions from NAB today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S dollar on Tuesday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7073, up from $0.7042 on Monday.

The Japanese market is extending gains from the previous session. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 358.68 points or 1.70 percent to 21,483.77, after rising to a high of 21,492.54 earlier. Japanese shares bounced back from four days of losses to close higher on Monday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is rising almost 3 percent, while Sony and Panasonic are advancing more than 2 percent each. Canon is adding more than 1 percent.

In the tech sector, Tokyo Electron is rising almost 2 percent and Advantest is up more than 1 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda is adding more than 1 percent and Toyota is advancing almost 1 percent.

In the banking space, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are higher by more than 1 percent each. In the oil sector, Inpex is advancing almost 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is adding 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the major gainers, CyberAgent is gaining almost 7 percent, while Yaskawa Electric and Sumitomo Dainippon are higher by more than 5 percent each.

On the economic front, Japan will see first-quarter numbers for the indexes for large all industry and large manufacturing from BSI today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 111 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan are rising more than 1 percent each, while South Korea and Singapore are advancing almost 1 percent each. New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also higher.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply higher on Monday following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected uptick in U.S. retail sales in January. However, the Dow underperformed its counterparts due to a steep drop by Boeing, following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which was the second crash in five months involving the company's 737 Max 8 model.

The Dow climbed 200.64 points or 0.8 percent to 25,650.88, while the Nasdaq soared 149.92 points or 2 percent to 7,558.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 40.23 points or 1.5 percent to 2,783.30.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Monday, lifted by reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to extend output cuts. WTI crude for April ended up $0.72 or 1.3 percent at $56.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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