RTTNews - The Japanese stock market opened on a bright note on Tuesday as participants took cues from Wall Street and rushed in to pick up stocks in early trading. A stronger U.S. dollar and an improvement in Japanese consumer sentiment have also contributed to the sharp surge.

The Nikkei 225 average, which rallied to 9,327 earlier this morning, is currently trading at 9,296, up 257.13 points or 2.84%. The Nikkei had ended 226.30 points or 2.4% down at 9,039 in the previous session.

Automotive stocks Toyota Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, Hino Motors and Isuzu Motors are up sharply. Mazda Motor and Mitsubishi Motors are also trading firm with sharp gains.

Among bank stocks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Resona holdings, Shizuoka Bank, Chiba Bank and Mizuho Financial Group are trading with strong gains. Shares of Fukuoko Financial Group, Shinsei Bank and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. are also surging higher.

Construction stocks JGC Corp., Sekisui House, Comsys Holdings Corp., Kajima Corp. and Taisei Corp. are trading firm with sharp gains. Foods stocks are up sharply with Kirin Holdings, Asahi Breweries, Nisshin Seifun Group Inc., Sapporo Holdings, Kikkoman Corp., Takara Holdings and Meiji Holdings posting strong gains.

Among chemicals, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Kao Corp, Shiseido, Fujifilm Holdings, Kuraray, Nissan Chemical Industries, Asahi Kasei and Sumitomo Chemical Co. are up sharply. Pharmaceuticals stocks Takeda Pharma, Eisai Co., Astellas Pharma Inc., Shionogi & Co. and Daiichi Sankyo are trading sharply higher.

Oil stocks Nippon Oil Corp., Nippon Mining Holdings and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. are trading with impressive gains. Steel stocks are trading higher, with the overnight Wall Street rally and the decision of the Chinese government to reduce steel output aiding sentiment. JFE Holdings, Pacific Metals, Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Metal Industries and Kobe Steel are gaining ground. Several non-ferrous metals and machinery stocks are also trading firm with handsome gains.

In the currency market, the Yen is trading at 96.18 to the U.S. dollar.

Other markets in the Asia-Pacific region are also trading firm today with traders building up significant positions on Wall Street cues and renewed optimism about a global economic recovery.

It was a mixed close for stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region on Monday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell by 2.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 1.3 percent. In India, the decisive victory of the Congress Party in recent elections buoyed up stocks and lifted the key indices up by over 17 percent.

Major European markets all closed higher on the day. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index closed up 2.4 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index finished up by 2.2 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Monday, bolstered by hopes about the housing market. A report from the National Association of Home Builders said its index of homebuilder sentiment rose to 16 in May, compared to a level of 14 in April. The figure was the best reading since September, fueling speculation that the housing sector is bottoming and economic recovery may be around the corner. Further, the report indicated that attitudes of homebuilders improved for both the present situation and for the next several months.

Better-than-expected earnings from home improvement retailer Lowe's also contributed to the positive sentiment.

The major indices closed prominently higher, with the Dow closing up 235.44 points at 8504, the Nasdaq finishing up 52.22 points at 1732, and the S&P 500 closing higher by 26.83 points at 910.

Wall Street now turns its attention to the Commerce Department data on housing starts for April. Although the figures are expected to rise, economists are still uncertain that a trough has been reached. According to Wachovia Securities, housing starts may hover around the half-million mark for one more month before beginning to slowly climb in the second half of the year.

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