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Dec. 18, 2012, 3:29 a.m. EST

Asia stocks advance on U.S. debt-pact hopes

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By Sarah Turner and V. Phani Kumar, MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Most Asian stocks climbed Tuesday on signs of progress in U.S. budget talks to avert the fiscal cliff, with exporters and financial firms driving Japanese shares to their highest level in more than eight months.

“Investors underweight equities are becoming more anxious about being left behind if there is a reasonable outcome to the U.S. fiscal cliff negotiations,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

The Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +1.06%  rose 1% to 9,923.01, a closing level not seen since early April. The advance builds on gains from the previous session, when a landslide election victory for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) sparked fresh optimism for the introduction of deflation-fighting policies.

South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.48%  and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.03%  added 0.5% each, Taiwan’s Taiex rose 0.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +0.13% inched up 0.1%.

/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed SHCOMP 3,405.43, +17.79, +0.53%
/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed NIK 26,430.80, +276.99, +1.06%
Shanghai Composite and Nikkei Average
Year-to-date price chart

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.13% slipped 0.1%, paring some of this month’s gains.

While overnight gains on Wall Street set the tone for early gains for most regional markets, a further advance for U.S. equity futures and higher commodity prices aided sentiment.

Also supporting stock gains, President Barack Obama reportedly made a new offer late Monday on a deal to avoid the cliff, moving closer to the Republicans’ position. The White House’s latest counterproposal included $1.2 trillion in revenue increases and $1.22 trillion in spending reductions, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations. Read: Obama reportedly makes new 'fiscal cliff' offer.

Financial firms led the gains in U.S. markets on Monday as fiscal cliff hopes gave investors some confidence about the health of the U.S. economy and optimism on the sector spread to Tokyo on Tuesday.

Nomura Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed JP:8604 +0.32%   /zigman2/quotes/207276383/composite NMR +1.96%  climbed 6.4% after a 3.2% rally for its American Depositary Shares overnight, and top Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207520099/delayed JP:8306 +0.56%  rising 3.8%.

In light of current global asset-price reflation and falling volatility, “Japan is our favored contrarian long,” said Merrill Lynch’s global equity strategy team, which recommended buying Japanese banks.

With the dollar trading around ¥84 Tuesday, many blue-chip exporters added to their Monday’s gains. See: Dollar jumps to 19-month high vs. yen.

Click to Play

News of Abe leadership sends yen tumbling

A day after Japan's general election, Shinzo Abe's plan to launch a stimulus to get Japan's economy on track sends the yen lower.

Olympus Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed JP:7733 +1.04% /zigman2/quotes/203009041/delayed OCPNF -2.06%  rose 6.2% and industrial major Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/206655821/delayed JP:7012 +0.51%   /zigman2/quotes/202288565/delayed KWHIF -8.68% gained 1.5%.

Sharp Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed JP:6753 +0.58% /zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed SHCAF -6.25%  extended its rally Monday to add another 8.4%.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. /zigman2/quotes/202771076/delayed JP:9501 -1.53% /zigman2/quotes/204529331/delayed TKECF -0.68% zoomed 17.3% higher, also building on strong gains in the previous session, when the stock ended limit-up amid hopes for a more favorable policy towards the sector under the incoming LDP-led government’s regime.

In Hong Kong, insurance major AIA Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201974019/delayed AAIGF +0.51% /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 +0.24%  lost 3.3% after former parent American Insurance Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203700638/composite AIG +1.74%  wrapped up its stake sale in AIA. Read: AIG sells AIA shares near top end of range.

Banks also gained broadly, with China Merchants Bank Co. /zigman2/quotes/210188047/delayed CN:600036 -0.80%   /zigman2/quotes/208876947/delayed CIHKY -1.63% climbing 1% and China Construction Bank Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208058581/delayed CN:601939 +0.16% /zigman2/quotes/207732534/delayed CICHY +0.22%  trading 0.3%.

Elsewhere in the region, Korea Exchange Bank rose 2% in Seoul, National Australia Bank Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB -0.65% /zigman2/quotes/208329321/delayed NABZY +0.23% added 0.5% in Sydney and Chinatrust Financial Holding Co. advanced 0.6% in Taipei.

/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
add Add to watchlist JP:100000018
JP : Nikkei
26,430.80
+276.99 +1.06%
Volume: 0.00
July 5, 2022 9:09a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
2,311.44
+11.10 +0.48%
Volume: 35,482
July 5, 2022 9:09a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
6,610.30
-2.30 -0.03%
Volume: 18,060
July 5, 2022 10:09a
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/zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed
CN : China: Shenzhen
¥ 14.94
+0.02 +0.13%
Volume: 83.50M
July 4, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
7.42
Dividend Yield
1.53%
Market Cap
¥289.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥6.67M
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/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
21,830.35
-29.44 -0.13%
Volume: 2.20M
July 4, 2022 4:08p
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/zigman2/quotes/206251373/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 504.90
+1.60 +0.32%
Volume: 759,900
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
11.08
Dividend Yield
4.36%
Market Cap
¥1488.89 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥59.96M
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/zigman2/quotes/207276383/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 3.65
+0.07 +1.96%
Volume: 1.05M
July 1, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
9.03
Dividend Yield
4.30%
Market Cap
$11.02 billion
Rev. per Employee
$533,576
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/zigman2/quotes/207520099/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 738.90
+4.10 +0.56%
Volume: 4.03M
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
8.40
Dividend Yield
4.33%
Market Cap
¥9120.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥40.60M
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/zigman2/quotes/200860615/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,716.00
+28.00 +1.04%
Volume: 309,300
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
30.12
Dividend Yield
0.59%
Market Cap
¥3417.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥27.53M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203009041/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 19.99
-0.42 -2.06%
Volume: 100.00
July 1, 2022 10:32a
P/E Ratio
24.88
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$25.30 billion
Rev. per Employee
$245,017
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206655821/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 2,554.00
+13.00 +0.51%
Volume: 218,000
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
19.60
Dividend Yield
1.96%
Market Cap
¥425.18 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥41.02M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202288565/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 19.26
-1.83 -8.68%
Volume: 0.00
June 23, 2022 11:50a
P/E Ratio
16.89
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$3.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$365,055
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203224600/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 1,037.00
+6.00 +0.58%
Volume: 127,200
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
8.56
Dividend Yield
3.86%
Market Cap
¥622.40 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥52.06M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207472799/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 7.50
-0.50 -6.25%
Volume: 0.00
June 14, 2022 9:38a
P/E Ratio
6.90
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$4.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202771076/delayed
JP : Japan: Tokyo
¥ 644.00
-10.00 -1.53%
Volume: 16.33M
July 5, 2022 9:09a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
¥927.66 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥139.96M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204529331/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 4.08
-0.03 -0.68%
Volume: 63.00
June 30, 2022 10:46a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$6.87 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.25M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201974019/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 10.93
+0.06 +0.51%
Volume: 52,898
July 1, 2022 3:10p
P/E Ratio
17.78
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$129.80 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
$ 85.25
+0.20 +0.24%
Volume: 26.39M
July 4, 2022 4:08p
P/E Ratio
17.85
Dividend Yield
1.71%
Market Cap
$1018.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203700638/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 52.02
+0.89 +1.74%
Volume: 3.36M
July 1, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
4.54
Dividend Yield
2.46%
Market Cap
$41.21 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.46M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210188047/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 41.05
-0.33 -0.80%
Volume: 48.69M
July 4, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
8.35
Dividend Yield
3.71%
Market Cap
¥1059.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥4.39M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208876947/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 33.20
-0.55 -1.63%
Volume: 52,717
July 1, 2022 3:59p
P/E Ratio
8.67
Dividend Yield
2.95%
Market Cap
$158.11 billion
Rev. per Employee
$680,188
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208058581/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
¥ 6.09
+0.01 +0.16%
Volume: 92.23M
July 4, 2022 3:00p
P/E Ratio
4.94
Dividend Yield
5.98%
Market Cap
¥1140.29 billion
Rev. per Employee
¥3.64M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207732534/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 13.40
+0.03 +0.22%
Volume: 72,294
July 1, 2022 3:59p
P/E Ratio
3.49
Dividend Yield
6.88%
Market Cap
$170.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$581,281
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed
AU : Australia: Sydney
$ 27.56
-0.18 -0.65%
Volume: 68,779
July 5, 2022 10:09a
P/E Ratio
13.97
Dividend Yield
5.08%
Market Cap
$87.60 billion
Rev. per Employee
$620,376
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208329321/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 9.40
+0.02 +0.23%
Volume: 187,006
July 1, 2022 3:50p
P/E Ratio
12.91
Dividend Yield
5.11%
Market Cap
$59.32 billion
Rev. per Employee
$458,471
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Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney. Follow her on Twitter @SarahTurnerMKTW. Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @MktwKumar.

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