RTTNews - Asian markets are mostly trading firm on Tuesday, with the overnight gains on Wall Street amid hopes of an economic revival and higher oil prices triggering some strong buying in stocks across various sectors.

The markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan are trading sharply higher, with their key indices gaining between 1.2%-2%. The Korean index KOSPI is up nearly a per cent while the Indonesian benchmark Jakarta Composite is up with a modest gain. The Shanghai and New Zealand markets are currently trading flat.

In Australia, energy, materials and bank stocks are in demand. Consumer staples, consumer discretionary and utilities stocks are also trading with impressive gains.

Shares of up-market department store chain David Jones are trading sharply higher after the firm boosted its profit guidance on hopes the economic downturn may be waning. David Jones is currently trading 10.5% up over its previous close. On expectations of higher revenues in forthcoming quarters, shares of other retailers are also edging higher today.

Hatsie Group has won two contracts in Britain worth around A$38.8 million. The air conditioning and refrigeration firm's rotary building services business will implement the contracts which are for mechanical, electrical and public health services work. While the first order is for work on the new vocational College of Westminster in London, the second contract is for work on an office tower in Media City in Salford, a new home for the British Broadcasting Corporation and other media organisations. The Hatsie Group stock is trading modestly higher.

Leighton Holdings has been awarded a new contract by Gloucester Coal which allows for the extension of mining at the Duralie site. The A$350 million-seven year mining contract has been awarded to the existing contractor Leighton Mining. The Leighton Holdings stock is trading 1.8% up at present.

In economic news, total credit provided to the private sector by financial intermediaries fell by 0.1 per cent in May, following a 0.1 per cent rise in April, the Reserve Bank of Australia said today. Over the year to May, total credit rose by 3.9 per cent while housing credit rose 0.5 per cent in May, and by 7.0 per cent over the year, seasonally adjusted. Other personal credit fell 0.6 per cent in May, and was down 7.8 per cent over the year. Business credit fell 0.7 per cent in the month, but increased 2.1 per cent over the year.

In Tokyo, the Japanese benchmark index Nikkei rose to a two-week high as it jumped to 10,000.30 on hopes the recession may be easing. A weaker yen and higher oil prices lifted stock prices up sharply in early trading and the Nikkei was up by as much as 1.89% or 185 points at 9968 at the end of the morning session.

The Japanese government said today that the country's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a nearly six-year high of 5.2 percent in May, with job availability dropping to the lowest level on record. The rate, the highest since September 2003, rose from 5.0 percent in April.

The number of jobless people increased by the biggest ever 770,000 from a year earlier to 3.47 million for the seventh straight monthly increase, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report. Separate data released by the labor ministry showed the ratio of job offers to job seekers in May was at a seasonally adjusted 0.44, the lowest on record. The ratio, down from 0.46 in the previous month, means that there were 44 jobs available for every 100 job seekers.

In the South Korean market, bank stocks are trading firm with sharp gains. Technology, airlines, steel, energy and shipbuilding stocks are also trading higher today. Automobile stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended Monday's session on the downside. However, major European markets closed notably higher, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index rising 2% and 2.3 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed up 1.3%.

Shrugging off some choppy movements, stocks ended higher on Wall Street as investors indulged in some bargain hunting despite any prominent triggers. However, volumes were rather thin as some traders chose to stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of key economic data later in the week.

The Dow ended 90.99 points up at 8,529.38, the Nasdaq closed up 5.84 points at 1,844.06 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.33 points to 927.23.

Oil prices jumped on tensions in crude-producing Nigeria and on China's reported plans to rapidly increase its strategic crude oil reserves. Reports over the weekend said that China planned to increase strategic crude oil reserves by 60% to 270 million barrels during the next five years. New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for August, moved up by US$2.33 from its closing price on Friday to end at US$71.49.

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