Asian markets took cues from their Wall Street counterparts and finished mostly higher Wednesday, even as Chinese trade data spurred hopes of further stimulus.
In economic reports, official data showed Chinese exports increased 10% previous month, just short of expectations of 10.5% rise. Imports, meanwhile, soared 14% -- much above the analysts' estimate of a 5.2% rise. The country's trade deficit stood at $884 million during March as compared with a surplus of $15.3 billion in February.
Weak trade data spurred hopes Beijing would initiate more stimulus measures to sustain economic growth in the world's second largest economy.
Stocks on the move
Exporters scored robust gains in Tokyo. Nintendo Co. soared 11.7%, Tokyo Electron moved up 6.3% while Panasonic Corp. added 3.3%.
Financials and resources stocks added to the gains. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 5% while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group bounced nearly 7%.
Steel player Kobe Steel scored around 7% too while JFE Holdings enhanced 4.1%.
Metal-linked firms were also modestly higher in Hong Kong. Aluminum Corp. of China climbed 3.5%, Jiangxi Copper improved 1.1% while gold miner Zijin Mining Group was 2% brighter.
Sydney-listed miners were also in demand. China is Australia's biggest importer of metals and the import data augured well for mining stocks.
Mining giant BHP Billiton added 1.7% while fellow miner Rio Tinto improved around 3%. Diversified iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3.7%.
On the flipside, surfwear retailer Billabong International tumbled over 26% amid news the company has entered into a ten day period of exclusivity with the Sycamore Consortium in relation to a takeover deal.
Stocks in Mumbai also opened higher, tracking gains in global markets. Among the top scorers, IT stocks traded higher after posting losses in the previous session.
Wipro recovered, adding 2.2% while Infosys followed closely up 1.7%. TCS extended gains, up 2.2%.
Among others, HDFC bounced 3.6% while L&T added 2.5%, Cipla finished 1.8% higher while HDFC Bank and SBI enhanced around 1.7% each. ICICI Bank closed up 1.5%.