RTTNews - With better-than-expected economic data from the U.S. and some major Asian nations including Japan, China and India over the past few days raising hopes of a global economic revival, the mood remains fairly bullish in the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday. Extending their winning streak, most of the markets in the region are up sharply today with energy, materials, automobile and machinery stocks recording strong gains.

Energy and materials stocks are on a roll in the Australian market. Industrials, healthcare and consumer staples issues are also trading firm. After a weak start, bank stocks have rebounded smartly and are currently trading in positive territory.

According to a release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, demand for new housing from first time homeowners helped to lift building approvals for a third straight month in April. Building approvals jumped by a seasonally adjusted 5.1 percent in April to 11,402 units, but remain 16.1 per cent lower than a year earlier. Economists had forecast a 2 percent increase in April.

Better-than-expected national balance of payment figures released on Tuesday indicate Australia may have avoided recession in the first quarter.

A separate report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation recorded a seasonally adjusted current account deficit of $4.614 billion in the March quarter, which was narrower than a revised deficit of $6.357 billion in the December quarter.

The median market forecast was for a deficit of $5.425 billion in the March quarter.

Meanwhile, a decrease of $5.964 billion in the deficit on goods and services in chain volume terms is expected to add 2.2 percentage points to growth in the March quarter measure of gross domestic product (GDP), the ABS said.

The data comes a day before the ABS publishes its national accounts data, which include GDP figures. The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to take a decision on interest rates later in the day.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is up 68.10 points at 3,963 and the broader All Ordinaries index is trading 65.70 points up at 3954.

In Tokyo, the benchmark index Nikkei rose to 9,794, its best in nearly eight months, and is currently trading at 9,770, up 91.54 points over its previous close.

Japanese Finance and Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said Tuesday that the country's economy may have hit bottom during the January-March period, underscoring his cautious optimism about the economic outlook. Yosano's remarks came after the government released data Monday showing that supply outstripped demand by 8.5%, or about Y45 trillion in annualized terms, during the January-March quarter

In corporate news, despite the bankruptcy of its parent company, General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) Ltd. will continue doing business in Tokyo, the company's President Rick Brown said Tuesday. The unit will continue to sell vehicles, provide parts and perform maintenance under the umbrella of the new General Motors.

The entity, which has been importing four types of vehicles including Cadillac and Chevrolet, will stop selling Saab cars once the sale of that brand is set, according to Brown. The president said there will be no personnel cuts at the 50 shops and offices in Japan, and insisted that GM will transform into a new, robust company.

Shares of Nomura Real Estate Holdings fell sharply for the fourth straight day, losing nearly 7%, on dilution concerns after the company said it will issue 41.4 million new shares. The stock is currently trading down by over 3.5%.

Iron & steel, mining and trading stocks were among the prominent gainers in early trading today. Gas and electricity stocks declined.

Automobile stocks are mostly trading firm with Toyota Motor and Honda Motor posting sharp gains. Non-ferrous metals and machinery stocks are up with notable gains.

Construction, textiles, telecommunications, real estate, insurance and chemicals stocks are also trading firm. Pharma stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend. Foods trade weak.

In the South Korean market, automobile, shipbuilding, steel and oil stocks are trading firm. Technology stocks are also moving higher on strong buying support.

Bank stocks are up with modest gains. Airliners and telecommunications are also trading modestly higher. The Korean benchmark KOSPI is up 13.55 points or 0.93% at 1,428.32.

Among other markets in the region, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand are trading firm with their key indices surging 1% - 1.75%. The Shanghai Composite index is up by a modest 0.45% while the Hang Seng index of the Hong Kong markets is trading weak with a 0.65% loss.

The stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had surged higher on Monday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 1.6 percent, while China's Hang Seng climbed 3.4 percent.

General Motors filed for bankruptcy but the impact of the auto giant's fall from grace did not cast a shadow on Wall Street on Monday as investors rode on promising economic figures and stayed tuned to the market.

The Dow closed up 221.11 points or 2.6 percent, at 8,721, the Nasdaq finished up by 54.35 points or 3.1 percent, at 1,829, and the S&P 500 rose 23.73 points or 2.6 percent to 943.

Major European markets also closed considerably higher. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index finished up by 3.1 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also enjoyed notable strength, closing up by 2.0 percent.

Fuelled by expectations of increased demand, crude oil prices hit a seven-month high above $68 a barrel and appear poised to test higher levels.

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