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Market Update

Asian Markets Advance; Tokyo Leads

Asian markets were trading higher Wednesday with Japanese shares extending gains on account of a weaker yen, even as property shares rallied in Hong Kong, providing a further boost.

The Nikkei was up 1.8%, touching a six-month high, as of 11:29 am. The Shanghai Composite added 0.7% while the Hang Seng gained 1.8%. The Sensex added 0.4% and the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries was up 0.2%.

The yen weakened further against the dollar, in response to yesterday’s surprise announcement by Bank of Japan to expand its asset-purchase program by 10 trillion yen as a measure to beat deflation. The yen touched 78.54 per dollar yesterday, the lowest since 1st November on heels of the news.

Stocks on the move

Exporters gained ground with Toyota Motor Corp. adding 3.7%, Honda Motor Corp. climbing 3.4%.

Mazda Motor Corp. soared 8.3% while Komatsu was up 4.5%. TDK gained 3.8%.

Financials were also trading strong. Nomura Holdings surged 6%.  Japan’s biggest lender, Mitsubishi UFJ climbed 4.1% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 4.4%.

Shipping companies also propped up.  Mitsui O.S.K. Lines rose 7.1%  while Kawasaki K.K. climbed 7.6% . Nippon Yusen K.K. was up 4.2%.

On the downside, chip-maker Elpida Memory plunged to a record low 14% after the company expressed concerns about securing financial support ahead of debt repayment deadline.

In Hong Kong, property shares continued to notch gains. Sung Hung Kai Properties added 4.3%. China Resources Land was up 2.2%.

Hang Lung Properties also climbed 4.1% and China Properties Investment Holdings rose 5.4%.

Cosco Pacific was up 3.8%. The company operates container facilities at Greek’s Piraeus port.

Esprit Holdings also gained around 2%; Europe accounts for the company’s biggest market.

In Mumbai, Tata Motors drove up 6.5% leading the gainers. Other auto majors were also driving higher, with Maruti Suzuki up 4.2% and Mahindra & Mahindra adding 3%.

Unitech advanced 4.9% after the real estate developer reported 50% drop in consolidated net profit for the third quarter ended December.

Voltas surged 14.9% despite posting loss for the December quarter.

Berger Paints gained a shade higher 2.8% after reports that the company has forayed into construction chemicals and has fixed a sales target in the first year of operation.  

ONGC and BHEL were also up around 1% each. A panel of ministers are due to meet today to discuss sale of shares in the state-run ONGC and BHEL.

In Sydney, Westfield Group rose 5.5% after the shopping mall operator reported higher second-half profit.

More on earnings, Commonwealth Bank was up 0.4% after the bank announced higher first-half profit.

Wealth management company Perpetual Ltd. surged 6.6% on better prospects.

Resources, however, were trading lower. Fortescue Metals inched lower 0.4% while BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Newcrest Mining were almost flat.