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Market Update

Asian Markets Advance; Shrug off Weak Data

Asian markets advanced Monday on optimism after Greece won parliamentary approval for austerity measures required to secure fresh bailout funds, with Tokyo shrugging off reports of more-than-expected drop in GDP even as Shanghai recovered initial losses in banking and property stocks.
 
The Nikkei was up 0.7% as of 12:53 pm in Tokyo. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.4% while the Hang Seng added 0.7%. The Sensex gained 0.2% and the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries advanced 0.9%.

China's stocks were hit in early trading after a central bank report showed January figures for new loans dropped below market expectations at 738.1 billion yuan, witnessing a year-on-year decline of 288.2 billion yuan. Property stocks were also trading lower after home subsidy policies announced in Wuhu, an eastern city in China, were put on hold. Earlier this month, officials had announced a waiver of deed tax and subsidy on some home purchases in the city.

Stocks on the move

In Tokyo, shares advanced despite government data that showed the nation's economy contracted an annualized 2.3% in the fourth quarter due to declining exports.

Exporters gained momentum with Nippon Sheet Glass  adding 2.3% ; Europe is the glass manufacturer’s biggest market.

Mazda Motor drove up 1.4% while Isuzu Motors gained 0.7%.

Industrial robotics maker Fanuc climbed 2.1% after reports suggested the company plans to double production of tools used to manufacture smart-phone components.

In financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 0.3% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained another 0.5%.

Nitto Denko rose 3.6% after Nomura Holdings upgraded its ratings.

Among telecom firms, Softbank Corp. soared 3.4% with reports suggesting the company would bag the high-speed frequency 900MHz band that four mobile operators are competing for. KDDI Corp. gained 0.5%.

Asahi Group Holdings added 1.4% after Japan's largest beer brewer reported modest gain in profit on Friday.

Taiyo Yuden added 0.3% after analysts said the company is expected to achieve profitability in the year ending March 2013.

Printing services provider, Dai Nippon Printing fell 4% after the company slashed its full-year forecast.

Sumco Corp. slipped 2.5% - the company’s shares continue to slide after the manufacturer of silicon-wafers recently announced it has cut 15% of its overall workforce.

In Shanghai, shares of banks were hit by the new bank lending data. China Construction Bank shed 0.4% while ICBC was flat.

Property stocks were also trading lower. The broader Shenzhen-listed shares of China Vanke, the nation’s biggest listed property developer was down 0.6%.

Poly Real Estate slumped 2.1% while Gemdale Corp. dropped 3.2%.

In Hong Kong, China Resources Land dropped 5.5% while Agile Property Holdings was also sank almost 6%. China Overseas Land & Investment was down 4%.

In Mumbai, Sun Pharma gained nearly 2% after its subsidiary Taro Pharma reported strong quarterly earnings.

Coal India gained 2% ahead of quarterly earnings report due later today.

DLF fell 2.7% on account of weak quarterly earnings. Reliance Communications also shed 1.7% on lower quarterly numbers.

State Bank of India, the country’s biggest lender, was down 2.1% ahead of quarterly reports. The bank has been struggling with its asset quality over the last few quarters.

Among gainers, Hero Motor Corp. gained around 2%, Mahindra & Mahindra added 1.3% while Bajaj Auto was up 1.1%.

In Sydney, banks led the markets higher with Westpac gaining 1.1%. ANZ added 1.6% and Commonwealth Bank was up 1.1%. NAB also added 1.6%.
Miners also gained ground. Fortescue Metals jumped 5%  while Newcrest Mining added 2.6%. BHP Billiton was up 1%.

Retailers were also trading higher. Woolworths gained 1% while Wesfarmers shares were up 0.9%.

On the flip side, Leighton Holdings was down 2.7% after the company said one of its units may have made payments related to work in Iraq that broke Australian law.

Energy firms were also trading lower. Linc Energy was weaker 2.5% while AWE shed 1.2%.