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Market Update

Tokyo Drops But Sydney, Mumbai Gain

Stock markets in Sydney and Mumbai were trading higher Wednesday with a few well-received corporate earnings helping Australian equities even though Japanese shares lagged behind.

At the time of writing, Australia's S&P/ASX All Ordinaries was up 0.9%, breaching the key 5000-mark for the first time in 33 months.

Mumbai's Sensex gained 0.5% but Japan's Nikkei lost 0.8% at 12:56 p.m. Tokyo time dragged by a stronger yen and few lacklustre earnings.

Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong remained closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Gains in the Asian session were inspired by a positive overnight finish for Wall Street equities, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at its highest level this year, led by gains in financials and consumer-related firms.

Stocks on the move

In Australia, financial firms led the field with Commonwealth Bank of Australia hitting an all-time high after the lender's first-half profits came in better than expected. Shares of Commonwealth Bank were up 2.5% at the time of writing.

Among other banks, NAB gained 1.6% amid news the banking giant would raise $750 million through hybrid securities. 

Westpac Banking rose 2.4% after reports said the bank would shift 134 jobs to India and Phillipines.

QBE Insurance Group rose 3.8% while Suncorp Group edged up 0.3%.

In earnings-related moves, Stockland surged 5% despite posting a huge first-half loss, while Leighton Holdings bounced over 7% after reporting profits of $450 million for the year ended 31 December 2012.

On the other side, Computershare Ltd. slipped 0.1% after reporting a decline in profit in first half of fiscal 2013.

Goodman Fielder dropped over 5% despite reporting higher net profits as the company said conditions in its core markets remained challenging.

In Tokyo, exporters dropped sharply as the yen grew stronger against its major rivals. Among top losers, Sony Corp. tumbled 6.5%, Panasonic Corp. slumped over 4% while Mazda Motor erased 3.4%.

On the earnings front, Pioneer Corp. said it expected extraordinary loss for second quarter of fiscal year 2013. Shares of Pioneer slumped 12% on heels of the news.

Olympus Corp. dropped 2.6% after the firm reported a quarterly loss.

In Mumbai, IT stocks were in focus after U.S. President Barack Obama called for imposing an "offshoring tax". IT firms, however, seemed unfazed by the news as TCS gained 1.9%, Infosys rose 0.5% and Wipro added 0.3%.

Among other gainers, Tata Motors added 2.9%, Bharti Airtel improved 1.9% while HDFC climbed 1.7%.

But shares of the troubled Kingfisher Airlines slipped 1.4% amid buzz the debt-mired carrier's lenders would soon initiate loan recovery procedure.