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Market Update

Asian Stocks Outside Japan Rise

Asian markets were mostly higher Monday with Shanghai-listed stocks leading after data showed a rise in profits of China's industrial companies.

The Shanghai Composite rallied 1.6% , the Hang Seng added 0.5%, while the Sensex inched up 0.1% at the time of writing.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index, however, slipped 0.5% after staging a sharp rally last week as investors booked profits, and as the yen rebounded slightly against major currencies.

Markets in Australia were closed for a holiday.

Data released today showed profits earned by Chinese industrial companies increased a robust 17.3% in December from a year ago to 895.2 billion yuan, hinting recovery in the world's second largest economy.

Stocks on the move

Exporters in Tokyo were trading mixed as the dollar traded near the 91-yen mark after hitting a low of 90.80 per yen in earlier trades.

Sony Corp. surged over 7%, Nintendo added around 4% and Nissan Motor gained 3.4%.

On the flipside, chipmaker Advantest Corp. dropped over 5% while Tokyo Electron slipped 2.2%.

Shipping companies added to the losses. Mitsui O.S.K. dropped over 2% while Kawasaki Kishen K.K. erased more than 3%.    

Industrial robotics maker Fanuc Corp. tumbled over 6% after slashing its full-year profit outlook.

But financials and energy players were on the upside with modest gains. Daiwa Securites climbed 2.5% and Inpex Corp. gained 2.9%.

In Hong Kong, index heavyweight HSBC Holdings added 1.1% while Hang Seng Bank improved 1.2%.

Financials on the mainland bourses were also on the buyers' list -- ICBC climbed 1.4%, Agricultural Bank rose 2.5% while Bank of Communications gained 2.8% in Shanghai.

Airline stocks were among other gainers in Hong Kong -- Air China added 2.1% while China Eastern Airlines enhanced around 3%.

In Mumbai, interest-rate sensitive stocks found support ahead of the central bank's monetary policy review tomorrow.

Among the gainers, auto stocks zoomed ahead on hopes the RBI would cut interest rates. Mahindra & Mahindra was up 1.8%, followed by Hero MotoCorp, up 1.6% and Maruti Suzuki up 1.5%.

Banks SBI and ICICI added around 0.7% each while HDFC Bank inched up 0.2%.

On the downside, Reliance Industries, down 1.3%, was the top loser on the benchmark BSE Sensex. ONGC slipped 1% while Hindustan Unilever shed 0.8%.