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Asian Markets Mostly Higher

asiancommentary dec21 18jan21 lt

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Tuesday despite the absence of fresh cues from Wall Street, which was closed overnight for a holiday. Investors remained optimistic that economic growth in China will help support growth in the Asian region. Data released on Monday showed that China's economy gained further momentum towards the end of 2020.

Investors now look ahead to comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen on U.S. stimulus at the Senate confirmation hearing later today, with her prepared remarks calling on the federal government to "act big".

The Australian market is rebounding following losses in the previous session, as investors digested production results from mining giant Rio Tinto.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 69.00 points or 1.04 percent to 6,732.00, just off a high of 6,733.20. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 68.10 points or 0.98 percent to 7,003.50. Australia stocks closed lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is advancing 0.6 percent. Rio Tinto is adding 0.5 percent and BHP Group is up 0.2 percent.

Rio Tinto reported that its fourth-quarter Pilbara iron ore shipments was 88.9 million tons on 100 percent basis, an increase of 2 percent from last year. For the full year, shipments rose 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Westpac is rising more than 2 percent, while ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank are higher in a range of 0.9 percent to 1.6 percent.

Tech stocks are also higher. WiseTech Global is gaining more than 3 percent, Appen is advancing almost 2 percent and Afterpay is adding 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, oil stocks are mostly lower. Santos is declining 0.7 percent and Woodside Petroleum is edging down 0.1 percent, while Oil Search is rising more than 1 percent.

Gold miners are mixed. Newcrest Mining is adding 0.4 percent, while Evolution Mining is unchanged.

Waste management company Bingo Industries Ltd. said it received an unsolicited indicative acquisition proposal of A$3.50 per share in cash from a consortium that comprises buyout firm CPE Capital as well as Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets or MIRA. Bingo said the proposal is considered by an independent board committee of the company. Shares of Bingo are climbing more than 20 percent.

The Japanese market is also rising.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 385.79 points or 1.37 percent to 28,628.00, after touching a high of 28,669.87 in early trades. Japanese shares closed notably lower on Monday as investors booked profits in an overheated market.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is rising more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is gaining more than 3 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is higher by almost 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding almost 2 percent.

The major exporters are also higher. Sony is rising more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are advancing almost 1 percent each. Panasonic is adding 0.4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding 0.7 percent. Among automakers, Honda is rising almost 2 percent and Toyota is up more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Mitsui E&S is climbing almost 12 percent, while Tokyo Electric Power and Taiyo Yuden are rising more than 6 percent each. Mazda Motor and Toray Industries are higher by more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, Cyberagent is declining more than 2 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea and Hong Kong are rising more than 2 percent each, while Taiwan is advancing more than 1 percent. Singapore and Malaysia are also higher. New Zealand and Indonesia are lower, while Shanghai is little changed.

Overnight, the U.S. markets were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The major European markets closed mostly higher on Monday. Germany's DAX climbed 0.4 percent and France's CAC 40 edged up 0.1 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended down 0.2 percent.

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