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Market Update

Asian Markets End Higher; Nikkei, Shanghai Lead

Asian markets closed on a high note Wednesday with Japanese markets buoyed by an upbeat outlook from Toyota and hopes of easing monetary policy in China.

At close, the Nikkei was up 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite gained 2.4% and the Hang Seng added 1.5%. The Sensex was up 0.5% while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries added 0.4%.

Shares of Japanese car manufacturers notched up gains after stronger-than-expected outlook from Toyota provided a boost, pushing the Nikkei to a 3-month high. China's stocks also advanced the most in three weeks on speculation that monetary policy would be eased in the wake of slowing inflation. The government is expected to release inflation data tomorrow.

Stocks on the move
In Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corp. surged 5% after the Japanese automaker raised its full-year profit outlook to 200 billion yen from 180 billion yen despite reporting a fall in its quarterly profit.

Other carmakers followed, with Honda Motor Corp. driving up 3%. Mazda Motor Corp. gained 7.3%.

Nissan Motor Corp. reported a 3.2% rise in its third-quarter net profit, beating analysts' estimates. Its shares were up 2.4%.

Gaming firm DeNA soared 8.4% 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 10.1% 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 3.3% and Fujitsu gained 2.9%.

Elpida Memory jumped 9.4% 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 6.7%. Nippon Steel gained 6% while Sumitomo Metal Industries also added 6%.

In financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 2.6% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group was up 1.6%. 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 2.2% while PetroChina added around 2%. Hong Kong listed shares of CNOOC were also up 2%.

Property shares showed some movement after the country’s central bank pledged support for first-time home purchasers. Poly Real Estate Group climbed almost 3% while the broader Shenzhen-listed shares of China Vanke ended little changed.

In Hong Kong, China Resources Land climbed 3% while China Overseas Land & Investment jumped 5.4%.

In financials, Citic Securities soared 7.1% while ICBC gained 1%.

In Mumbai, Hindalco rose 5% and GAIL added 3.2%. Other gainers included DLF which climbed 3%. Hero Motor Corp and Coal India gained nearly 2.3% each.

Technology majors TCS, Infosys and Wipro climbed 1.5%-2.0%.

Bharti Airtel erased 7% after the company reported a 1.5% decline in its third-quarter net profit.

Among banks, ICICI Bank was down nearly 2% while SBI gained 1.1%.

In Sydney, BHP Billiton slipped 0.4% after the mining major reported first half profit of $9.9 billion, slightly below expectations.  

Rio Tinto added 1.1%, ahead of its full year results expected tomorrow. The miner announced an additional investment of $3.4 billion to expand its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Fortescue Metals gained 3.2%

Among bank stocks, Westpac ended little changed while ANZ added 1.2%. Commonwealth Bank erased 0.4%.

Timber company Gunns soared 36% after the company reported it would tie up with New Zealand billionare Richard Changler for its planned Tamar Valley pulp mill.