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Market Update

Asian Stocks Notch Higher

Asian markets extended gains Tuesday, following a positive lead from Wall Street overnight, as concerns about Syria and Fed's tapering plans eased.

Investors were also hoping Chinese factory and retail sales data expected later in the day would come in positive, bolstering faith that the world's second-largest economy is recoverning.

Overnight, Wall Street stocks logged gains on heels of positive economic reports from China and Japan, and as a U.S.-led strike against Syria seemed less likely. Meanwhile, Friday's not-so-encouraging employment figures spurred up speculations that the Fed might not have strong reasons to start scaling back its monetary stimulus policies as soon as this month.

Among the regional indexes, Mumbai's Sensex, which opened after a three-day long weekend, soared 2.7% at 10:33 a.m. IST even as the Indian rupee gained ground agains the dollar.

Reserve Bank of India's new governor had recently introduced a spate of measures to stablise the falling rupee.

Japan's Nikkei bounced 1.3%, Australia's S&P/ASX All Ordinaries gained 0.5% while China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng were up 0.2% and 0.6% respectively.

Stocks on the Move

Tokyo equities opened higher on the back of a weaker yen. Among the top gainers, Komatsu jumped over 6% on expectations of record operating profit in its parts business.

Sony Corp. gained 2.3% amid plans to launch Play Station4 on February 22nd 2014 in Japan.

Financials were among other top scorers. Daiwa Securities vaulted more than 4% while Nomura Holdings added 2.7%.

General contractors were in good demand after Tokyo won the bid to host 2020 Summer Olympics. Hitachi Construction enhanced 7.1%, Mistubishi Fudosan Co. rallied 3.1% while Shumizu Corp. rose 5%.

Airlines stocks were also among the high-fliers in today's trade. Japan Airlines Co. took off more than 3% while StarFlyer Inc. added around 2%.

Hong Kong-listed airlines also scored robust gains. Air China Ltd. bounced 5.5% while China Eastern Airlines soared 5.7%. Cathay Pacific was up a modest 1.6%.

Some property developers added to the gains. Poly Property Group climbed 3.3% and China Resources Land improved over 2%.

Metal firms Angang Steel and Jiangxi Copper traded around 5% and 3% higher.

In Mumbai, auto stocks raced ahead, with Tata Motors leading the rally with a gain of 7.7%, followed by Maruti Suzuki (up 3.7%) and Mahindra & Mahindra (+2.7%).

Some defensive picks such as FMCG firms and pharmaceuticals also found support. ITC scored 4%, Hindustan Unilever added 2.7% while Sun Pharma improved over 2%.

Banks were other smart gainers on the 30-share benchmark index.

Among Sydney-listed banks, NAB tacked on a percent, Westpac Banking improved 1.4% while ANZ climbed 0.6%.

Miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were up 1.5% and 1% respectively.