RTTNews - The Asian markets ended in the positive territory on Wednesday following cues from Wall Street where the major indices ended modestly higher lifted by better than expected consumer confidence index and S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Better-than-expected earnings from Chinese companies and positive closing in Shanghai also lifted market sentiment.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose to a 11-month high and ended at 10,640, representing a gain of 142.35 points, or 1.35%, while the broader Topix index of all first section stocks rose 10.48 points, or 1.09%, to 976.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance revealed that merchandise trade balance surplus for July was 380.2 billion yen, slightly below the 390 billion yen surplus forecast following the revised 507.5 billion surplus in June. July exports decreased 36.5% compared to a year earlier, versus forecasts for a 38.4% annual decline after the 35.7% contraction in June. Exports fell 1.3% month-on-month, the first monthly drop in two months. Imports in July declined 40.8% year-on-year, beating expectations for a 42.5% annual decline after the 41.9% fall in the previous month.

In a separate report, the Bank of Japan, in a preliminary report, said that an index measuring corporate services prices in the country declined 3.4% year-on-year during July.

Automakers advanced on expectations of rise in demand. Toyota Motor gained 1.48% after the company revealed that it is contemplating to reduce the overall global production, that might result in reducing its losses. Honda Motor added 0.67%, Nissan Motor advanced 0.74%, and Mitsubishi Motor rose 0.59%.

Bank stocks also ended higher on optimism about recovery. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial added 0.51%, Mizuho Financial climbed 0.44%, Resona Holdings advanced 0.78% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rose 0.99%.

Trading stocks also advanced on optimism about recovery. Toyota Tsusho Corp. rose 3.02%, Sumitomo Corp. advanced 0.92%, Mitsui & Co., added 0.40% and Itochu Corp. gained 0.44%.

Reports in the press revealed that NEC Corp, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. are finalizing an agreement to provide $2.1 billion in finance aid to NEC Electronics which is pursuing a merger with Renasas to become the largest chipmaker in the country. NEC Corp. advanced 3.02%, Hitachi Ltd added 0.30% and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. remained unchanged from previous close.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index gained 1.11% or 48.70 points to close at 4,454, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,464, representing a gain of 46.90 points, or 1.06%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that construction work done recorded a decrease in the June quarter marking a second straight quarterly decrease. According to the report, construction work was down a seasonally adjusted 0.1% quarter-over-quarter, a slower rate of fall compared to the 2.2% fall reported in the March quarter. The quarterly decrease was smaller than economists' forecast of a 3% decline.

In a separate report, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations or DEWR revealed that Job vacancies for skilled workers in the country increased in August by 1.0% over July.

Westfield Group, the biggest owner of shopping centers, reported a 12.1% gain in operating profit for the first half of the year. The company, which earns a third of its revenue from the 55 malls it owns in the U.S., gained 4.66%. Among other property stocks, Stockland surged up 5.40%, GPT Group soared 7.48% and Mirvac Group rose 6.48%.

Transfield Services, provider of maintenance services to miners and utilities, surged up 9.20% following the announcement of 12-year contract from Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

Consolidated Media Services soared 11.95% after announcing the sale of its stake in Seek Limited, provider of Internet services. The shares of Seek declined 3.18% on huge volumes.

Metals and mining stocks ended in positive territory. BHP Billiton gained 0.93%, Fortescue Metals added 0.45%, Gindalbie Metals rose 3.11%, Illuka Resources surged up 8.28%, Oz Minerals advanced 2.68% and Rio Tinto increased 0.92%.

Energy stocks ended mixed following sharp drop in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum edged down 0.02% and Oil Search shed 0.99%. However, Santos added 0.39% and Origin Energy rose 2.08%. Banks also ended higher. ANZ Bank added 0.86%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 0.70%, National Australia Bank edged up 0.37% and Westpac Banking rose 1.03%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended in positive territory with a gain of 21.08 points, or 0.10% at 20,456, taking cues from Wall Street where positive economic data lifted recovery hopes. Positive earnings from companies in mainland China also lifted market sentiment. Profit taking on valuation concerns amid volatile trading however limited the gains, with property and bank stocks showing weakness.

In South Korea, the benchmark KOSPI Index ended at 1,614, up 12.74 points, or 0.80% following Wall Street cues on optimism about growth. Steel and shipping stocks attracted buying interest while profit taking in automotive stocks limited the gains.

Strong buying in IT stocks on the back of better-than-expected U.S. economic data and short covering a day before the expiry of current month derivatives contracts helped the Indian market end higher for the 5th straight session. The BSE Sensex climbed 81 points, or 0.52% to close at 15,770 and the S&P CNX Nifty rose 21 points or 0.46% to 4,681.

Among the other major markets in the region, China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.78% or 51.79 points, to 2,968, and Singapore's Strait Times Index added 9.67 points, or 0.37% to close at 2,628. Taiwan's Weighted Index declined 90.20 points, or 1.32% to close at 6,719, and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index edged down 0.02% or 0.43 points to close at 2,380.

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