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Asia stocks rise after Dow closes above 13,000

Asia stocks rise after Dow closes above 13,000

Bangkok: Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday, powered higher by the strongest close for US stocks since before the 2008 financial crisis.

Benchmark oil climbed above $107 per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.9% to 9,805.27 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.5% to 21,681.36. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.4% to 2,031.46. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8% to 4,298.60. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia were also higher. Mainland Chinese shares fell.

Surging consumer confidence helped push the Dow to close at 13,005.12 on Tuesday. The last time the benchmark closed above 13,000 was in May 2008, four months before the fall of the Lehman Brothers investment bank and the worst of the financial crisis.

The US Commerce Department reported Tuesday that orders fell 4% last month as US businesses slashed spending on machinery and equipment after a tax break expired.

“The market just seems to want to edge up further and that actually is in line with the larger picture," said Lee Kok Joo, head of research at Phillip Securities in Singapore. “When you look at the whole macro scheme of things — on the euro side the debt story is kind of slowing down.

Right now the story still is that the US is actually showing signs of recovery," he said. Key benchmarks in mainland China were down due to a clampdown by Beijing on Shanghai officials for attempting to relax rules on property purchases. “They stopped them from doing that, so that’s why the mainland markets are down, especially property," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong.

The move also put a crimp in Hong Kong-listed shares. China Vanke Co. fell 1.2% and Poly Real Estate Group tumbled 2.7%. But airlines shares began to claw back from recent selloffs sparked by higher oil prices. Korean Air Lines Co. rose 3.1% and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. jumped 3.8%.

Meanwhile, shares of Elpida Memory Inc. went into free fall after it filed for bankruptcy Monday. The company, Japan’s only chipmaker to specialize in memory chips used in mobile phones and computers, was pummeled by dropping prices, fierce competition and flooding in Thailand.

Benchmark oil for April delivery was up 50 cents to $107.05 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell by $2.01 to $106.55 per barrel in New York on Tuesday. In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.3483 from $1.3459 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 80.33 yen from ¥80.55.

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