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Market Update

Nikkei Outshines Asian Markets

Japanese stocks soared close to five-year highs on Tuesday, spurred by overnight gains on Wall Street; but other markets in the region remained mostly listless.

The Nikkei bounced 3% at 12:47 p.m. Tokyo time, trading above the 14,000-mark for the first time since June 2008 as investors returned to the market after a holiday yesterday.

Among other indexes, the Shanghai Composite was trading flat and the Hang Seng edged up 0.1%. The Sensex rose 0.6% while the S&P/All Ordinaries slipped 0.5% ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy decision later in the day.

Meanwhile, traders were also hoping the European Central Bank would slash interest rates further. Addressing an audience in Rome, president Mario Draghi said the bank would monitor economic data closely and would cut rates further if required.

Stocks on the move

Exporters in Tokyo scored robust gains as the yen hovered near 100-mark against the dollar. Among top scorers, Sony Corp. bounced over 6%, Tokyo Electron jumped 6% while Toyota Motor Corp. rose 4.7% ahead of its earnings results tomorrow.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries gained nearly 5% while Itochu Corp. added 3.9% after reports said the two companies along with France's GDF Suez would build a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

Shipping companies were among other frontliners -- Kawasaki Kishen K.K. added 4% while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines climbed 3%.

Financials, realty players, retailers and resources stocks supported the broad market gains.

Mumbai's 30-share benchmark Sensex index also climbed higher in early trades, with metal plays, banks and drug makers supporting.

Hindalco Industries was the top gainer -- up 2.1%, followed by NTPC (+1.9%), ICICI Bank (+1.8%) and BHEL (+1.4%).

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Pharma vaulted over 6% ahead of its earnings call , while Cipla and Dr. Reddy's Lab added around 0.2% - 0.4%.

In individual stocks, Den Networks inched up 0.6% amid reports Goldman Sachs invested $110 million in the cable television and internet services provider.

In Hong Kong, metal players made modest moves upwards. Angang Steel added 1.5% while Aluminum Corp. of China rose 1.7%.

On the earnings front, SJM Holdings jumped 4% after posting higher first-quarter profit. Other casino players were also mostly higher. Galaxy Entertainment added over 2%, Wynn Macau Ltd. edged up 0.4% while MGM China Holdings improved 1.3%.

But losses in financials erased most of the gains on the benchmark index. ICBC slipped 0.2%, China Construction Bank lost 0.3% and Agricultural Bank of China eased 0.3%.

Financials in Sydney were also trading weak ahead of the RBA's policy decision. NAB, Westpac Banking and ANZ lost more than 1.5% each.

Miners were, however, on the upside. Index leader BHP Billiton and close competitor Rio Tinto rose more than 1.6% each while gold miner Newcrest Mining surged 5.5%.