RTTNews - The markets across the Asia-Pacific region continued its northward march on increasing hopes that the worst for the global economy is over. Almost all the markets open for trading in the region ended sharply higher, except India, where the markets ended flat dragged down by worse-than-expected results from Reliance Industries which more than offset positive earnings from other companies.

In the U.S., stocks ended Friday's session on a mixed note, with the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 Index ending higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended in negative territory following disappointing numbers from bellwether Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

Traders shrugged off a mixed report from Reuters and the University of Michigan, which showed that their reading on consumer sentiment for the month of July was upwardly revised from the preliminary reading but still came in well below the previous month. The report said that the consumer sentiment index for July came in at 66.0 compared to the preliminary reading of 64.6, although it remained below a reading of 70.8 for June. Economists had expected the index to be revised up to 65.0.

While the Nasdaq slipped by 7.64 points or 0.4% to 1,966, the Dow climbed 23.95 points or 0.3% to 9,093 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.97 points or 0.3% to 979.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher above the 10,000-mark at 10,021 compared to its previous close of 9,945 on increasing optimism about a global recovery. The market continued to move in the northward direction and ended at 10,089, representing a gain of 144.11 points, or 1.45%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues gained 7.78 points, or 0.85%, to 928.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery ended the Asian trading session at $68.68, up $0.63 from its previous close in New York at $68.05 a barrel on Friday.

Financial stocks gained on recovery hopes. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial gained 0.55%, Mizuho Financial advanced 1.92%, Resona Holdings rose 1.51% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group added 1.86%.

Brokerage firms advanced following reports that they may return to profits this year. Nomura Holdings gained 3.14% and Daiwa Securities Group surged up 4.49%.

Hitachi gained 3.40% after Nikkei reported that the company is planning to make five of its affiliates into wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Car stereo maker Clarion, in which Hitachi has about two-thirds interest, surged up 13.64%.

Shipping stocks ended weaker after the companies revised their annual projections and now expect losses for the year. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines declined 3.54%, Kawasaki Kisen shed 3.98% and Nippon Yusen lost 4.55%.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened unchanged from its previous close at 4,097 and marched northwards on increasing confidence about recovery prospects. Higher commodity prices in anticipation of rise in demand helped build on the gains before ending with a gain of 50.50 points, or 1.23% at 4,148. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index also followed a similar trend and ended at 4,149, representing a gain of 49.20 points, or 1.22%.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery ended the Asian trading session at $68.68,up $0.63 from its previous close in New York at $68.05 a barrel on Friday.

Mining stocks led the gains in the market. Rio Tinto advanced 3.81%, BHP Billiton added 0.91%, Fortescue Metals gained 3.23%, Gindalbie Metals surged up 8.93%, Minara Resources rose 3.91% and Mincor Resources increased 5.97%. However, Oz Minerals lost 2.17% on profit taking.

Macarthur Coal, the world's biggest exporter of pulverized coal, slipped 1.97% following news that the company is in discussions with steel mills in China for long term sales contracts.

Oil stocks edged higher on rising crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum added 0.10%, Oil Search Ltd rose 0.72% and Santos advanced 0.75%.

Banking stocks also ended higher on recovery hopes. ANZ Bank added 0.77%, Commonwealth Bank Australia advanced 1.06%, National Australia Bank gained 0.72% and Westpac Banking rose 0.65%. Macquarie Group surged up 4.88%.

Gold stocks showed mixed trend. While Lihir Gold slipped 0.36% , Sino Gold gained 2.25% and Newcrest Mining edged up 0.23%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended in the positive territory on increasing confidence that the worst for the global economy is over. The market opened sharply higher at 20,172 compared to its previous close at 19,983 and continued to move northward on optimism about global recovery. The market maintained the momentum throughout the session and ended with a gain of 268.83 points, or 1.35% at 20,252.

China-related stocks and resource stocks led the gains on expectation of higher demand. Property related stocks also posted gains.

Aluminum Corp. of China or CHALCO gained 4.54% on hopes of higher demand. Among other resource stocks, Petro China gained 1.41% and CNOOC rose 0.96%. China Shenhua Energy soared 3.90%.

Property stocks ended higher. Swire Pacific gained 4.39%, New World Development rose 3.57%, SHK Property advanced 3.39%, Henderson Land added 3.26% and Sino Land increased 2.01%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended in positive territory on expectations of global recovery. The market opened sharply higher at 1,511 compared to previous close at 1,503 and continued to move northward on positive sentiment across the region. The market ended with a gain of 21.46 points or 1.43% at 1,524.

The Indian market closed a volatile session mostly unchanged, as worse-than-expected quarterly results from Reliance Industries outweighed encouraging earnings announced by a number of other bluechip companies over the weekend.

The BSE Sensex finished the session at 15,375, down 4 points or 0.03%, while the S&P CNX Nifty rose 4 points or 0.08% to 4,572.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 62.61 points, or 1.86% to close at 3,435, Singapore's Strait Times Index advanced 43.23 points, or 1.71% to close at 2,577, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index added 23.45 points, or 1.07% to close at 2,209, and Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 55.15 points, or 0.79% to close at 7,028.

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