RTTNews - The markets across the Asia-pacific region ended in the positive territory on Thursday on higher commodity prices. In the U.S, the stocks ended mixed after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to quantitative easing measures and downplayed inflation concerns, Recovery in commodity and oil prices for the second day and underlying confidence about the global economic recovery helped markets advance further.

In the U.S, the major indices ended mixed after the Federal Reserve announced no change to its rate target and reiterated its commitment to the quantitative easing measures first announced in March. On the economic front, traders digested a report from the Commerce Department that showed that durable goods orders for May rose by 1.8%, matching a revised increase in April. The increase surprised economists, who had expected a decline of 0.9%. In a separate report, the Commerce Department said that new home sales slipped by 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 342,000 in May from a revised April rate of 344,000. Economists had expected sales to jump 2.3 percent to 360,000 from the 352,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ closed up by 27.42 points or 1.6% at 1,792 and the S&P 500 rose 5.84 points or 0.7% to 901, while the Dow declined by 23.05 points or 0.3% to close at 8,300.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened slightly higher at 9,628 compared to its previous close of 9,590. Increasing optimism about a global recovery helped the index move northward, with the average closing at 9,796, representing a gain of 205.76 points or 2.15%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues ended at 920, up 17.31 points or 1.92%.

Light sweet crude for August delivery was little changed in the Asian session after ending down $0.57 at $68.57 per barrel in New York on Wednesday after the Energy Department's weekly inventory report showed a drop in crude stocks but a rise in gasoline supplies.

Exporters led the gains after the local currency weakened against the U.S. dollar. Canon advanced 2.19%, Fanuc Ltd gained 2.67% and Sony Corp. rose 2.03%. Mitsubishi Corp., added 4.43% and Marubeni Corp. climbed 3.82%.

Among automakers, Honda Motor Co. gained 2.34%, Hino Motor rose 3.65%, Isuzu Motors advanced 4.73 and Toyota Motor increased 3.68%.

Financials ended in positive territory on increasing optimism about recovery. Mitsubishi UFJ gained 2.02%, Mizuho Financial added 1.26%, and Resona Holdings advanced 2.35%. However, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial remained unchanged from previous close.

Nomura Holdings soared 4.77% after the management informed shareholders that the company will return to a profit and start paying dividends later in the year.

In Australia, the All Ordinaries Index opened slightly higher from its previous close at 3,808 and continued to trade in positive territory throughout the session on higher commodity prices. The index finally ended with a gain of 49.30 points, or 1.30%, at 3,851. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended higher at 3,856, representing a gain of 49 points, or 1.29%.

The International Monetary Fund or IMF, in its preliminary policy findings released yesterday, said the Australian economy would shrink by 0.5% this year, as domestic demand declines on lower commodity income, rising unemployment, and weak confidence. At the same time, the IMF expects the economy to recover by 1.5% next year, driven by government spending.

Material stocks led the gains following a rise in commodity prices in the international market. BHP Billiton gained 2.34%, Fortescue Metals advanced 2.17%, Oz Minerals rose 2.76% and Rio Tinto increased 4.42%.

Among oil stocks, Woodside Petroleum gained 1.62%, Santos advanced 1.07% and Oil Search rose 1.33%.

Gold stocks also ended mixed. While Lihir Gold gained 2.11% and Newcrest Mining advanced 1.80%, Sino Gold fell 0.57%.

Financials ended in positive territory on recovery hopes. ANZ Bank edged up 0.33%, Commonwealth Bank Australia advanced 1.40%, National Australia Bank added 0.23% and Westpac Banking gained 1.56%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index opened higher at 18,140 compared to its previous close at 17,892 and continued to trade in positive territory on optimism about growth. The market ended with a gain of 382.88 points, or 2.14%, to close at 18,275.

Property and financial stocks advanced following sharp losses in recent sessions. New World Development soared 7.63%, Sino Land gained 6.24%, SHK Property advanced 4.99% and Henderson Land Development rose 6.21%,

Among the financials, Bank of Communications gained 3.05%, ICBC added 3.45%, Bank of China advanced 3.76%, China Commercial Bank rose 2.74% and HSBC Holdings increased 0.53%.

Among resources, Aluminum Corp. of China, or CHALCO, gained 0.81%. PetroChina advanced 1.93% and CNOOC, the largest offshore oil company in China, gained 1.58%. Oil refiner Sinopec Corp edged up 0.36%.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index extended gains and ended in positive territory led by technology stocks and bargain hunting. The market opened higher at 1,367 compared to previous close at 1,364, and continued to move northward on increasing hopes of global recovery The index ended at 1,393, representing a gain of 28.94 points, or 2.12%.

Market-leader Samsung Electronics advanced 1.38%, LG Electronics gained 2.18% and LG Display added 0.78%.

Shipbuilder also ended in positive territory. Hyundai Heavy Industries climbed 3.31% and Samsung Heavy Industries gained 2.09%

In India, the stock market ended in the negative territory amid short covering on the last day of the expiry of derivative contracts for June period.

The BSE Sensex lost 77.11 points or 0.53% to close at 14,346, and the broader Nifty index ended lower with a loss of 51.10 points, or 1.19% at 4,293.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up 2.75 points, or 0.09% to close at 2,925, Taiwan's Weighted Index gained 77.53 points, or 1.22% to close at 6,458, the Strait Times Index in Singapore added 23.50 points or 1.03% to close at 2,302 and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index advanced 48.50 points, or 2.43% to close at 2,045.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com