Asian stocks rose to their highest in three weeks after the world's largest bond insurers retained top credit ratings, easing concern that global economic growth will slow on new credit losses.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average added 0.8% to 14,024.12, after closing 3.1% higher Monday. The broader Topix index advanced 0.7% to 1,365.21.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 5,654.90 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9% to 1,724.21, while New Zealand's NZX 50 index slipped 0.6% to 3,547.91.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. climbed after Standard & Poor's kept MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc.'s AAA debt ratings. Japans largest bank advanced 2 percent to 994 yen.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., the third-largest by market value, jumped 2.9 percent to 465,000 yen. National Australia Bank Ltd., the country's largest, climbed 2.5 percent to A$29.85.

U.S. stocks climbed yesterday, helping the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to its biggest rally this month.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was little changed at 108.04 yen, while the Australian dollar gained 0.2% at $0.93.

April crude-oil futures rose one cent to $99.24 a barrel in electronic trading, after gaining 42 cents to close at $99.23 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.