Asian trade: Asian markets are heading higher and sharing the same positive momentum as U.S. stocks, given that the economy appears to be at the start of the recovery phase, or at least getting really close to it.

On Wednesday the ISM manufacturing report climbed to 36.3, the third consecutive gain. The ISM report can be used as a good gauge for the upcoming GDP numbers. The positive reads over the last three months show that the economy improved during the first quarter of 2009 from the preceding, at least when it comes to the manufacturing side of the economy. However, the ISM March number still holds a long way from the 50 points mark that denotes contraction from growth

Additionally, the ADP report showed on Wednesday that the U.S. economy shed 742K workers in March, the second consecutive month in which the economy lost more than 700K jobs. Overall, the data coming from the labor market is very weak, both in the U.S. and in the Euro-area. On Friday, a release is expected to show that the unemployment rate in the U.S. reached 8.5% in March, a 25-year high. In the Euro-area unemployment jumped to 8.5% in February.

Taken as a whole, the ISM and the ADP reports show that the economy will contract for the 17th month in April, making it the longest recession since the Great Depression. 

Overnight the Nikkei rose 198.42 points (2.38%) to 8,550.33. The Australian S&P/Asx gained 102.90 points (2.87%) to 3,682.60.

Crude Oil for May delivery rose $0.30 to $48.80 as the market moved on a low volume

Gold continues to trade within the range of the last few days of trading. Bullion for immediate delivery added $0.60 to $928.10.