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Market Update

Asian Markets Move Up; Nikkei Hits 3-Month High

Asian markets notched modest gains Wednesday tracking overnight gains on Wall Street as reports of Greece inching closer to a debt deal buoyed investor confidence.

The Nikkei was up 0.8% at a three-month high, at the time of writing. The Shanghai Composite moved up 0.4% and the Hang Seng gained 0.6%. The Sensex added 0.8% while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries was up 0.3%.

Greek officials were reportedly close Tuesday to a final agreement with international lenders on reforms needed to secure fresh bailout funds. Talks between Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and EU officals will resume later Wednesday.

Stocks on the move
In Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corp. surged 4.2% after Japan’s top automaker raised its full-year profit outlook to 200 billion yen from 180 billion yen despite reporting a fall in its quarterly profit.

Stronger-than-expected profit outlook by Toyota pulled up shares of other carmakers. Nissan Motor Corp., which will report earnings today, gained 2%. Mazda Motor Corp climbed 5% while Honda Motor Corp. added around 2%.

Gaming firm DeNA soared 9% after it raised its operating profit outlook by 9.6% to 61.5 billion yen and announced a share buy-back.

Chip manufacturer Renesas Electronics jumped 9% after reports suggested that the firm may merge its development divisions with those of Panasonic and Fujitsu to form a new company. Panasonic was up 3% and Fujitsu gained 3.4%.

Elpida Memory jumped 8.2% after a Nikkei report suggested that the chipmaker was in talks with Globalfoundaries Inc. for the likely sale of its Hiroshima plant. The company, however, denied any such development.

Steelmakers also gained ground with JFE Holdings adding 6.4%. Nippon Steel gained 5.3% while Sumitomo Metal Industries climbed 5%.

In financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 2.4% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group was up 1.1%. Mizuho Financial Group gained 2.5%.

In Shanghai, refiners moved up after the government announced a hike in domestic fuel tariffs for the first time in 10 months. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. climbed 1.2% while PetroChina added 0.3%. Hong Kong listed shares of CNOOC were up 1%.

The broader Shenzhen-listed shares of China Vanke were up 1.1% after the country’s central bank pledged support for first-time home purchasers. Poly Real Estate Group also added around 1%.

In Hong Kong, China Resources Land climbed 2.4% while China Overseas Land & Investment gained 1.8%.

In Mumbai, DLF added 3.2% and Maruti Suzuki gained 2.5%. Technology majors TCS, Infosys and Wipro climbed 1%-2%.

Bharti Airtel erased 5% after the company reported a 1.5% decline in its third-quarter net profit.

Among banks, HDFC and SBI added around 1.3% while ICICI Bank was down 1.1%

In Sydney, BHP Billiton declined 0.6% after the mining major reported first half profit of $9.9 billion, slightly below expectations.  

Other miners gained as Fortescue Metals traded up 3.3% while Rio Tinto added 1.1%.

Among bank stocks, Westpac was down 0.3% while ANZ added 1.3%. Commonwealth Bank erased 0.4%.

Timber company Gunns soared 40% after the company reported it would tie up with New Zealand billionare Richard Changler for its planned Tamar Valley pulp mill.