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Market Update

Asian Markets End Higher; Sydney up 0.9%

Asian markets closed in the positive territory Monday after Greek parliament approved austerity measures required to secure fresh tranche of bailout funds even as weak data from Japan and China failed to dampen market sentiment.

At close, the Nikkei was up 0.6% as of 12:53 pm in Tokyo. The Shanghai Composite pared initial losses and ended flat while the Hang Seng added 0.5%. The Sensex gained 0.2% and the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries advanced 0.9%.

China's stocks were trading lower early Monday 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 hit after home subsidy policies announced in Wuhu, an eastern city in China, were put on hold. Earlier this month, officials had announced tax-exemptions and subsidies 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 1.5% ; Europe is the glass manufacturer’s biggest market.

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

Industrial robotics maker Fanuc climbed 2.2% after reports suggested the company plans to double production of tools used to manufacture smart-phone components.

In financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 0.5% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained nearly 1%.

Nitto Denko rose 3.8% after Nomura Holdings upgraded its ratings.

Among telecom firms, Softbank Corp. soared 3.5% with reports suggesting the company would bag the high-speed frequency 900MHz band that four mobile operators are competing for. KDDI Corp. gained 0.8%.

Asahi Group Holdings added 0.7% after Japan's largest beer brewer reported modest gain in profit on Friday.

Taiyo Yuden added 2.1% 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 almost 1% - the company’s shares continue to slide after the manufacturer of silicon-wafers recently announced it has cut 15% of its overall workforce.

Tokyo Electric Power closed 0.5% higher after jumping as high as 7% during the day, after the government approved a fresh aid of $8.9 billion for the operator of Fukushima nuclear plant to help it pay compensation to those affected by reactor meltdowns.

In Shanghai, banks were bearish in the wake of the new bank lending data. China Construction Bank shed 0.6% while ICBC gave up 0.5%.

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

Poly Real Estate slumped 3% while Gemdale Corp. dropped 2.9%.

In Hong Kong, China Resources Land dropped almost 6% while Agile Property Holdings was also sank nearly 7. China Overseas Land & Investment was down 4.8%.

Kingway Brewery Holdings rose 7.2% after reports suggested the beer brewer has received bidding offers.

In Mumbai, Sun Pharma gained nearly 3% after its subsidiary Taro Pharma reported strong quarterly earnings.

Reliance Industries edged up on reports the company has tied up with France’s Dassault Aviation to provide services in the defence and homeland security sector in India.

Coal India gained 2% after the state-owned company reported 57% increase in quarterly net profit.

State Bank of India was down 2% after reporting earnings. The nation’s biggest lender reported a 15.3% increase in net profit, beating analysts’ estimates.

Tata Power lost 2.5% after reporting a 40.7% drop in consolidated net profit. Capital goods major L&T also erased 1.7%.

Among gainers, Hero Motor Corp. gained 2.5% and Mahindra & Mahindra added 1.8%.  Bajaj Auto and Tata Motors were up nearly 0.5% each.

In Sydney, banks led the markets higher with Westpac gaining 1.4%. ANZ added 1.6% and Commonwealth Bank was up nearly 1%. NAB also added 1.4%.

Miners also closed strongly. Fortescue Metals jumped 5%  while Newcrest Mining added 3.2%. BHP Billiton was up 1%.

Retailers were also trading higher. Woolworths gained 1% while Wesfarmers shares were up 1.2%.

On the flip side, Leighton Holdings was down 2% after the construction firm’s improved profits were overshadowed by an alleged case of improper payments being made by one of its subsidiaries.

Energy firms were also trading lower. Linc Energy fell 3.2% while AWE shed 1.2%.