RTTNews - Buoyed by a strong close on Wall Street overnight on the back of some better than expected quarterly results on hopes of a revival of the U.S. economy, most of the markets across the Asia-Pacific region got off to a rousing start on Tuesday. The U.S. Conference Board's report that the index of leading economic indicators increased more than expected in June, the sharp rally in crude oil prices on hopes of increasing energy demand amid growing optimism about the economy, Goldman Sachs optimistic outlook for the U.S. Standard & Poor's 500 index and ceding fears about the bankruptcy of CIT Group following the lending giant securing US$3 billion in financing from some of its largest lenders also fueled the rally this morning.

The mood was so bullish in early trading this morning that the markets hit new highs. But then, most of the markets in the region have surrendered the initiative and given up a substantial portion of their gains with participants choosing to cash in on the rally and taking some profits.

The Australian indices S&P/ASX 200 and All Ordinaries hit new 8-month highs this morning on strong gains posted by resources related stocks. While the S&P/ASX 200 shot up to 4,083.6, the All Ordinaries jumped to 4,079.4. However, both these indices drifted down into the red a little before noon and are currently trading modestly higher.

While the S&P/ASX 200 is trading at 4,054.3, up 4 points or 0.1% over its previous close, the All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,051.5 with a gain of 7.3 points or 0.2%.

While select energy and materials stocks are holding on in positive territory, financial, industrials, telecom and utilities stocks are trading well off their morning highs.

Banking giants ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation are trading in the red. Diversified financial heavyweight Macquarie Group has pared most of the gains and is trading with a modest gain.

In company news, Leighton Holdings Ltd has announced that one of its Asia's joint ventures has won a contract worth A$410 million to build a sewage tunnel system in Hong Kong. Leighton Holdings also said it had completed the issuance of a A$230 million five-year fixed medium-term notes to replace old bank debt facilities.

The company said that Leighton Asia in partnership with Leonhard Nilsen & Sonner AS had been awarded a contract to build a sewerage conveyance system from Aberdeen to Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong island, Leighton said in a statement. The Leighton Holdings stock, which was up sharply earlier in the day, is currently down in the red with a loss of 0.8%.

According to a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, new motor vehicle sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 5.7% to 80,330 units in June, from 76,028 units in May.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher and was trading at US$0.8119/22 at noon. The Aussie is currently trading at 0.8125 to the U.S. dollar.

In Tokyo, stocks opened on a high note after an extended weekend. Stocks across the board rallied sharply in early trading, and, despite giving up some gains after a couple of hours, the Nikkei was firmly placed in positive territory at the end of the morning session.

Despite moving in a tight band, the Nikkei is currently up with a sharp gain of around 135 points or 1.45% at 9,530.

Shares of Pasona Group Inc. shot up by nearly 8% today, after opening the day bid-only. Buying sentiment was buoyed by the firm's Friday evening announcement that its group net profit will likely jump 3.2-fold year on year, to 1 billion yen for the year through May.

West Holdings Corp. rose for the third straight trading day Tuesday morning, climbing 69 yen to open bid-only at 471 yen. The stock closed the morning session with a big 12.7% gain. The stock rose on reports that Yamada Denki Co. will likely team up with the property and construction firm to sell home-use solar power generation systems. The news prompted speculation that West Holdings may expand its sales force and operating bases as a result.

MediciNova Inc. surged higher for the fifth straight trading day Tuesday morning, climbing 51 yen from Friday at one point to 871 yen. However, the stock changed track and slipped into the red later and suffered a sharp loss. The drug maker said earlier in the day that it will expand the list of ailments treatable with an asthma drug it is developing to include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

According to the minutes of the Bank of Japan policy board meeting held on June15-16, the board members agreed that economic conditions in Japan had stopped worsening, and that evidence of the economy's stability would be seen in coming months.

Opinions differed, however, over the bank's temporary corporate funding measures, with one member saying that corporate financing taken as a whole was becoming less tight, and the bank should therefore start considering specific ways to terminate the temporary and exceptional measures.

The BOJ upgraded its economic assessment at the June meeting for the second straight month, saying, economic conditions, after deteriorating significantly, have begun to stop worsening.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded at the lower 94-yen level early Tuesday in Tokyo, after rising in overnight trading in New York on optimism sparked by reports that struggling moneylender CIT Group may avoid bankruptcy. In early trading this morning, the dollar fetched 94.11-16 yen compared with 94.13-23 yen at 5 p.m. Monday in New York and 93.70-72 yen late Friday in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 93.81 to the U.S. dollar.

After a buoyant start and a subsequent bright spell in positive territory, the Korean market very nearly slipped into the red before noon with traders cashing in on recent gains and taking some profits in bank, shipbuilding and a few technology stocks.

However, on modest support at lower levels, the market has edged up a bit subsequently. The benchmark index KOSPI, which had surged to 1,497 earlier in the day, dropped down to a low of 1,481 and is currently trading at 1,486, up 7.5 points over its previous close.

Bank stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend. Among technology stocks, LG Display LCD and LG Electronics are down with modest losses. Samsung Electronics is up with a small gain while Nynex Semiconductor is trading 1.2% up.

Shipbuilders Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding are trading in positive territory with notable gains. Hyundai Heavy Industries is down by 1.4% and bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is also trading lower by 1.4%.

Automobile stocks Singsong Motor, Hyundai Motors and Kea Motor are trading higher. In the oil space, SK Holding is up 3.5% and S-Oil is trading with a modest gain. Energy major KEPCO is up by over 2%. Steel stocks POSCO and Hyundai Steel are also trading firm. Airlines and telecom stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai and Hong Kong are trading weak with their key indices Shanghai Composite and Hang Sang drifting lower by 0.5% and 0.35% respectively. Indonesia and New Zealand are up sharply while Singapore and Taiwan are trading modestly higher. Stock markets across the region had closed on the upside on Monday, with Hong Kong's Hang Sang Index surging up by 3.7%, while South Korea's benchmark KOSPI Index posted a gain of 2.7%.

Boosted by encouraging corporate earnings and reassuring news from CIT Group, which secured US$3 billion in financing from some of its largest bondholders, Wall Street ended on a firm note on Monday.

On the economic front, the Conference Board released a report showing that its index of leading economic indicators increased by more than expected in June, although both the coincident index and lagging index continued to decline.

The Dow moved up by 104.21 points or 1.2% to 8,848, the Nasal surged 22.68 points or 1.2% to 1,909 and the S&P 500 ended up 10.74 points or 1.1% at 951.

Major European markets closed notably higher, with the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index finishing up by 1% and 1.6% respectively. The O.K. FTSE 100 posted a gain of 1.3%.

Continuing its surge for a fourth straight day amid hopes of a global economic revival, crude oil finished at US$63.98 a barrel on Monday, up 42 cents over Friday's close. Prices had earlier reached a thirteen-day high of US$64.90.

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