The stock market in Hong Kong opened higher on Tuesday morning, defying the weak closing in Wall Street on Monday, on bargain hunting at lower levels after stocks declined sharply on Monday. Expectation of a stimulus package from Japan and positive economic data from South Korea also lifted the sentiment in the local market, as investors had already discounted the woes of the global automobile industry. In the U.S., automakers led the decline after the Obama administration indicated that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have not gone far enough in their restructuring plans and need to step up their efforts to reorganize in order to receive additional government aid. Financial stocks were also under stress after the Treasury Secretary stated that more banks might need more money than initially projected to clean up their balance sheets.

On Monday, the Dow closed down 254.16 points or 3.3% at 7,522, the Nasdaq closed down 43.40 points or 2.8% at 1,502 and the S&P 500 closed down 28.41 points or 3.5% at 787.

In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up $0.39 at $48.80 a barrel, in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed at $48.41 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, down $3.97 a barrel, on worries over the banking and automobile sectors in the U.S.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened Tuesday's session at 13,545, higher than its previous close at 13,456 and is presently trading at 13,619 up 1.21% or 163.12 points. Bargain hunting in select stocks after the sharp decline on Monday is leading the markets higher.

Property stocks are leading the markets higher, with New World Development, Swire Pacific, MTR Corp., Shopping Property, Sino Land and Hang Lung Property all moving to the upside. On the other hand, Henderson Land is seeing some weakness.

Among the index heavyweights, China Mobile is rising about 0.80%, while HSBC Holdings is receding nearly 1.30%. However, most other bank and insurance stocks are moving to the upside. China-related stocks are also showing strength.

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