Asian stock markets saw healthy gains on Tuesday, after a report showed that the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded for a fifth straight month.

–(– 01/05/2010 – Economy industry news provided by Financial News USA. Japan’s Nikkei Average [JP;N225 10766.6 111.8096 (+1.05%) ] touched a 15-month high, lifted by broad-based buying.

Japan Airlines rose 3.4 percent after the struggling airline said on Monday that more than two-thirds of its employees have agreed to proposed pension cuts, clearing one key hurdle in its push to reduce its pension shortfall, a prerequisite for a state bailout.

Resource shares such as trading house Mitsubishi Corp climbed as commodity prices rose and oil shot higher on increasing demand amid cold weather in the United States.

The Nikkei climbed to 10,773.14, its highest since October 2008, before falling back slightly to 10,727.43, a rise of 0.7 percent and 72.64 points. It closed at a 15-month high on Monday.

The broader Topix rose 0.9 percent to 923.93.

JAL rose as high as 92 yen before falling back to 90 yen. Its shares jumped over 30 percent on Monday on news the government had asked the state-owned Development Bank of Japan to double its credit line to JAL to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

Japan’s top three banks — Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group — are among JAL’s main creditors, and their shares suffered late last year from worries JAL would be restructured in bankruptcy court.

Mizuho rose 1.2 percent to 164 yen and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group edged up 0.4 percent to 452 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group lost 0.4 percent to 2,603 yen.

Among the biggest gainers were resource-linked shares after the commodity rise, with copper soaring to a new 16-month high on Monday and other metals, such as aluminium and nickel, also climbed.

Mitsui & Co rose 3.1 percent to 1,376 yen, Mitsubishi Corp gained 3.2 percent to 2,391 yen and Itochu Corp climbed 3 percent to 715 yen.

Australian stocks rose 1 percent, fuelled by confidence in a global economic recovery
after positive manufacturing reports from the United States, China and India.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index [AU;XJO 4923.8 47.546 (+0.98%) ] gained 51.4 points to 4,927.7.

Top gold miner Newcrest Mining jumped 2.4 percent to A$36.87 after gold prices rose to a near three-week high. Lihir Gold rose 1.5 percent to A$3.35.

Iron ore prospectors Murchison Metals and Gindalbie Metals led the market’s gains, with Gindalbie up 6.9 percent to A$1.155 and Murchison up 5.1 percent at A$2.90, following a big upgrade to its resource base last month.

Seoul shares drifted in a range as solid U.S. and China manufacturing data further fueled economic recovery hopes while concerns over Kumho Group dragged on sentiment.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.13 percent at 1,698.27 points, rising for a third consecutive session.

Shares of Kumho Asiana Group’s companies tumbled despite the unveiling of the group’s self-rescue plan, including raising more than 1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) from asset sales.

Kumho Industrial plunged by the 15 percent limit for a third consecutive session, having shed more than 50 percent of their value in less than a month and half. Shares in Kumho Tire were also limit-down, losing 44 percent since late November.

Technology exporters advanced, with memory chip issues such as Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor helped by rises in the key U.S. semiconductor index.

Shares in Samsung Electronics were up 1.85 percent and Hynix rose 0.83 percent.

Energy issues rose after oil advanced more than $2 to settle above $81 a barrel on Monday, its highest close in nearly 15 months. SK Energy climbed 4.27 percent and S-Oil gained 1.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 1.5 percent by mid-day, led by resources, exporters and gambling stocks.

Resources-related issues rose after prices for commodities gained overnight on growing signs of a global economic recovery.

PetroChina surged 4.2 percent, Aluminum Corp of China gained 2.41 percent and Realgold Mining climbed 5.02 percent. CNOOC advanced 2.78 percent and Jiangxi Copper was up 2.93 percent.

Exporters were higher on growing hopes that a recovery in the global economy would boost demand for electronics and other products shipped overseas. Yue Yuen Industrial rose
2.62 percent, Esprit Holdings gained 1.55 percent. Foxconn International Holdings was up 1.78 percent and Li & Fung was 1.39 percent higher.

Shares of Macau casino operators climbed, boosted by reports that gambling revenues in the enclave in December rose 48 percent from a year earlier, signalling sustained growth in the world’s largest gambling market.

Shares of Sands China, the Macau unit of Las Vegas Sands, rose as much as 4.72 percent to a near three-week high of HK$10.42. Wynn Macau, a unit of Wynn Resorts advanced 3.56 percent to a three-week high of HK$9.89.

SJM Holdings, Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho’s flagship firm, gained as much as 5.7 percent to its highest level in more than two months at HK$4.63.

China’s key Shanghai Composite index chalked up 1.2 percent to 3,282.8 points, recouping its 1 percent loss yesterday.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s STI rose on a positive lead from Wall Street. The benchmark index climbed 0.8 percent, supported by the country’s big banks and other blue chips.

Malaysia’s KLCI advanced 1 percent in morning trade to an 18-month high of 1290.55 points, as buying momentum gathered pace from local funds and retail investors on renewed optimism over rosier economic outlook.

Shares of Alliance Financial Group shed 5 percent after its unit Alliance Bank, one of the country’s smallest lenders, reportedly put several top executives on forced leave pending
an internal probe. About Financial News USA

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