RTTNews - The stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended in positive territory on Tuesday, following a strong closing on Wall Street, where the major indices rallied on hopes about the housing market. Financial stocks advanced following reports that three big banks intend to repay TARP funds borrowed from the Federal Reserve, fueling speculation that the worst in the financial crisis might be nearing an end.
In the U.S., traders considered a report from the National Association of Home Builders that said its index of homebuilder sentiment rose to 16 in May, compared to a level of 14 in April. The figure was the best reading since September, fueling speculation that the housing sector is bottoming and economic recovery may be around the corner. Further, the report indicated that attitudes of homebuilders improved for both the present situation and for the next several months.
The Dow closed up 235.44 points or 2.85% at 8504, the Nasdaq finished up 52.22 points or 3.11% at 1732 and the S&P 500 closed higher by 26.83 points at 910.
In Asian trading, crude oil ended higher by $1.12 at $60.15 a barrel in electronic trading. On Monday, light sweet crude for June delivery ended at $59.03 a barrel.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index added 251.60 points or 2.80% to 9,290 and the broader Topix Index of all First Section Issues advanced 20.05 points or 2.30% to 877.
The index, which closed at 9,039 on Monday, gap opened up at 9,173 and surged past the 9,300-mark in early trading. Thereafter, buying interest waned, with the index moving sideways for the rest of the session.
The major gainer in the market was Asahi Glass, which rose more than 9% following a revision in its rating by Daiwa Securities. The brokerage raised the stock to buy from neutral.
In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's biggest bank, gained 4.22% ahead of the announcement of financial results after market close. After market hours, the bank reported net loss of 256.65 billion yen for FY08 compared to net profit of 636.62 billion yen reported last year. The net loss was in line with bank's expectation but came in wider than analysts' estimate.
Among the other banking stocks, Sumitomo Mitsui added 0.53%, and Resona Holdings rose 2.23%. Brokerage Nomura Holdings surged up 3.72%.
Among exporters, Canon gained 4.44%, Sony rose 3.31% and Sharp added 2.29%. Automaker Toyota advanced 3.37% and Honda Motor added 0.93%.
Oil-related stocks ended in positive territory on higher crude oil prices. Inpex advanced 5.37%, Showa Shell added 0.58%, and Nippon Oil gained 3.47%. Trading house Mitsubishi Corp. gained 3.17%, Sumitomo Corp. advanced 1.62% and Itochu Corp rose 4.86%.
In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 81.7 points or 2.17% to close at 3,817 and the broad-based All-Ordinaries Index advanced 79.3 points, or 2.13% to close at 3,801.
Mining stocks advanced on higher copper prices in the international market. Index leader BHP Billiton advanced 2.92% and its rival, Rio Tinto gained 4.28%.
Banking stocks rose on optimism about stability in the sector. ANZ Bank gained 1.76%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 1.83% and Macquarie Group advanced 2.00%. Westpac Banking moved up 2.77% and National Australia Bank rose 2.52%
Retail stocks also saw buying interest on positive sentiment across the market. David Jones advanced 5.04%, Harvey Norman rose 5.80%, Wesfarmers added 1.85%, and Woolworths gained 1.74%.
Energy stocks gained after crude oil futures moved up more than 4% in New York last night. Woodside Petroleum gained 3.67%, Oil Search advanced 5.37% and Santos rose 3.94%
Gold related stocks ended mixed. Lihir Gold shed 2.65%, and Newcrest Mining lost 1.04%.
However, Sino Gold bucked the trend and ended higher by 0.76%.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index opened sharply higher on Wall Street cues and ended 3.06% or 521.02 points higher at 17,544.
Financial, china-related and resource stocks led the gains on positive cues from Wall Street and higher crude oil and copper prices.
HSBC Holdings surged 6.30% and Bank of East Asia advanced 5.59% following news that the two banks were granted approval by the Chinese regulators to sell Yuan bonds in Hong Kong.
Other major banks such as Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, Bank of Communications, ICBC and BOC Hong Kong also ended in positive territory.
Among china-related stocks, China Unicom advanced 2.83%, China Mobile added 2.56%, China Resources soared 7.90%, and China Shinhua rose 4.18%.
Resource stocks also advanced on higher copper and oil prices. CNOOC, China's largest off-shore oil producer, gained 5.43%, and PetroChina increased 4.97% on higher crude oil prices in the international market. Aluminum Corp. of China, or CHALCO, surged up 7.59%
The benchmark KOSPI Index in South Korea advanced 2.99% or 41.53 points to close at 1,428, led by financials and auto stocks.
Financials advanced on optimism about stability in financial sector. KB Financial Group surged up 6.22%, Woori Finance gained 3.88%, and Shinhan Financial rose 3.98%.
In the auto space, Hyundai Motor gained 4.05%, Kia Motor advanced 3.05%, and Ssangyong Motor surged 5.38%.
Technology stocks ended up in positive territory. Hynix Semiconductor surged up 8.58%, LG Display gained 3.29%, and LG Electronics advanced 4.59%. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics ended higher by 2.52%.
Among the other major markets, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 23.90 points, or 0.90% to 2,677, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index advanced 4.57% or 82.45 points to 1,886, Singapore's Strait Times Index added 83.38 points, or 3.83% to 2,260, and Taiwan's Weighted Index advanced 77.78 points, or 1.18% to 6,656.
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