RTTNews - Tracking gains posted by Wall Street last Friday, Asian markets have edged higher on Monday with traders lapping up stocks on the back of fairly impressive quarterly results and on hopes of an economic revival. Higher commodity prices and better-than-expected data on U.S. housing starts are also contributing to the firm trend in the Asian region today. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is closed today on account of Ocean Day and the Indonesian market is closed for Isra Mi'raj.

Aided by sharp gains posted by resources and financials stocks, the Australian market is up sharply in positive territory. The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is up by over 56 points or 1.4% at 4,057. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,048, up nearly 55 points or 1.5% over its previous close.

Mining stocks Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are trading higher by 2.5% and 2.2%, respectively. Among other stocks in the materials space, Bluescope Steel is up nearly 4%, Fortescue Metals is trading up 3.3% and Orica is up by around 1%. Lihir Gold and Newcrest Mining are trading higher by about 0.7% each.

In the energy space, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Origin Energy are trading firm with impressive gains. Bank stocks Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are trading notably higher while ANZ Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation are up with modest gains.

In economic news, Australia's producer price index declined 0.8% from the first quarter, when it fell 0.4%, data released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics revealed today. With prices paid to Australian producers falling for a second quarter in the three months through June, the central bank's scope to hold interest rates at current levels has increased.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at 0.8066 to the U.S. dollar. The Aussie had opened marginally above US$0.8000 this morning after a lackluster offshore session.

In the South Korean market, technology, automobile and bank stocks are leading the charge today. The Korean benchmark index KOSPI, which opened modestly higher at 1,448 this morning, is currently trading at 1,472, up 32 points or 2.22% over its previous close.

Among technology stocks, LG Display LCD, Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics are trading higher by 2% - 4%. LG Electronics is up with a modest gain.

In the automobile space, Ssangyong Motor is up nearly 10%, Kia Motor is trading with a gain of 6.7% and Hyundai Motor is up by around 3.5%.

Among bank stocks, KB Financial is up by about 3.5%, Shinhan Financial, Korea Exchange Bank and Woori Finance are trading higher by 1% - 2%.

Oil stocks SK Holdings and S-Oil are up by around 1.5%. Energy stock KEPCO is also trading with a sharp gain. In the steel space, Hyundai Steel and POSCO are up sharply in positive territory.

Shipbuilding stocks Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Hyundai Heavy Industries are trading firm. Bulk carrier STX Pan Ocean is up nearly 3% over its previous close. Telecom and airlines stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are trading higher with their key indices moving up by 0.75% - 2.75.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had closed higher on Friday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbing by 2.4% while Japan's benchmark Nikkei index posting a modest gain of 0.6%.

On Friday, Wall Street ended with modest gains after a highly choppy ride amid mixed reaction to earnings reports and housing data. The Dow and Nasdaq finished on the upside, gaining 32.12 points or 0.4% to 8,744 and 1.58 points or 0.1% to 1,887 respectively. The S&P 500 closed 0.36 points down at 940.

Traders looked to results from Google and IBM, which firmly beat Wall Street estimates, while financial stalwarts Bank of America and Citigroup also beat forecasts, but by more modest margins. General Electric also surpassed expectations.

There was not much of a reaction to the report from the U.S. Commerce Department which showed housing starts rose 3.6% to an annual rate of 582,000 units in June from a revised pace of 562,000 units in the previous month.

Major European markets closed on the upside, with the German DAX Index finishing higher by 0.4% and the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both rising by 0.6%.

Continuing its upward movement for another day, crude oil finished at its best level in 11 days on Friday. Light sweet crude oil for August settlement rose US$1.54 to settle at US$63.56 per barrel. Prices hit as high as US$63.99 after earlier hitting as low as US$61.04.

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