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Market Update

Asian Markets Add But China Drags

Asian markets were mostly higher Thursday, following a positive lead from Wall Street overnight but Chinese stocks moved lower dragged by property developers.

Among the gainers, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.5% at 11:30 a.m. in Tokyo. Mumbai's Sensex added 0.3% and Australia's S&P/ASX All Ordinaries climbed 0.2%.

On the other side, China's Shanghai Composite dropped 0.5% while the Hang Seng edged down 0.1% after data showed home prices in 70 Chinese cities rose at a quicker pace from a year ago. On a monthly basis, however, price growth showed moderation in May. Prices in 70 cities increased 0.78% on month in June, as compared with 0.86% in May and 0.90% in April.

Investors feared rising home prices would prevent the government from initiating further monteary stimulus.

Elsewhere in the region, the mood was upbeat after Fed Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments boosted confidence. During his testimony to the Congress yesterday, Bernanke said the central bank's asset-purchase program would continue. Wall Street stocks finished higher in wake of the announcement and some upbeat corporate earnings.

Stocks on the Move

In Tokyo, financials and most exporters were among the top gainers. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 2.1% while brokerage house Nomura Holdings added 1.1%.

Among tech players, Softbank Corp. jumped 4.2% amid reports the company has joined hands with Bloom Energy in a joint venture to provide clean, alternative energy to Japanese consumers.

Toshiba Corp. advanced 2.7% after reports said the company along with Elpida Memory Inc. intends to invest in capacity expansion for the first time in two years amid rising demand for smartphone chips.

Sharp Corp. also gained 2.7% amid buzz the electronics maker is expected to post a smaller operating loss for April-June quarter than previous estimates.

In Sydney, banks and miners traded mixed. NAB and Westpac Banking tacked on a percent each while ANZ eased 0.3%.

Leading miner BHP Billiton slipped 0.2% and Rio Tinto added a percent. Gold miner Newcrest Mining fell 3.8%.

Troubled surfwear retailer Billabong International extended gains, adding 3.7% after yesterday's surge of 34% amid buzz the company has secured a private equity loan.

In Mumbai, stocks opened higher amid positive global cues. ONGC was the top gainer on the 30-share benchmark index, adding 2.7%. Jindal Steel, Hindalco Industries and Hindustan Unilever added around 2% each while Infosys, Cipla and Tata Power gained around 1.5%.

On the flipside in Hong Kong, property developers traded under pressure. China Overseas Land & Investment lost 1.4% while China Resources Land slipped 0.7%.

Shanghai-listed Gemdale Corp. erased 1.8% while China Vanke erased around a percent in Shenzhen.