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Market Update

Asia Tracks Wall Street Higher; Tokyo Up on Yen

Asian markets bounced back into the green Wednesday, tracking overnight gains on the Wall Street, and as a softer yen boosted earnings outlook for Japanese exporters.

Tokyo's Nikkei led the regional gains, up 1.7% at 12:47 p.m. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.7%, the Hang Seng was up 1.3% while the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries enhanced 1.4% following mild inflation numbers.

Official reports showed Australian consumer prices increased by a less-than-expected 0.4% in the first quarter, and up 2.5% from a year earlier. Investors were hopeful this would give the central bank more room to slash interest rates in the near future.

Markets in Mumbai were closed for a public holiday.

The mood was positive at open during the Asian session after Wall Street equities rebounded from early losses due to a false tweet about attack on the White House, as strong corporate results and upbeat housing data boosted confidence.

In the forex market, the yen dropped to 99.39 against the dollar and to $129.19 against the euro at the time of writing.

Commodities also sprung back as the risk appetite improved across the board.

Stocks on the move

Tokyo-listed exporters scored high on the back of a weaker currency. Among top gainers, Nintendo Co. rose over 4% ahead of its earnings release, Tokyo Electron gained 4.5% while Mazda Motor Corp. accelerated 2.4%.

Steel players moved sharply higher following earnings results. JFE Holdings soared nearly 7% while Kobe Steel was up 3.5%.

In Hong Kong, property developers recovered yesterday's losses. China Resources Land moved up over 3% and Sino Land Co. gained 2.5%.

Financials were also strong. Index leader HSBC Holdings rose 2% while largest lender ICBC added around a percent.

Among globally-tied firms, Foxconn International Holdings surged over 7.5% even as Belle International Holdings rose 5.3%.

In Sydney, banks were in demand -- NAB, Westpac Banking and ANZ were all trading over 2% each.

Among miners, index heavyweight BHP Billiton climbed 1% while Rio Tinto advanced 1.5%. Fortescue Metals Group, however, slumped 3.5%.

Other top gainers included Seven Group Holdings (+4.4%), Harvey Norman Holdings(+4.4%) and Worleyparsons Ltd. (+2.8%).