Asian markets rebound on easing Europe fears

Asian markets on Wednesday bounced back from recent loses following some much-needed positive news out of Europe and an IMF report forecasting global growth would be stronger than expected.

Technology and financial shares were boosted by strong earnings in the United States, while the euro and dollar gained against the yen as traders felt confident to buy riskier assets.

Tokyo surged 2.14 percent, or 202.55 points, to 9,667.26 and Seoul rose 0.97 percent, or 19.23 points, to 2,004.53 while Sydney added 1.37 percent, or 58.9 points, to 4,347.7.

Hong Kong climbed 1.06 percent, or 218.42 points, to 20,780.73 and Shanghai rallied 1.96 percent, adding 45.86 points to 2,380.85.

The recent concerns that troubled Spain could be the next in line for a bailout were soothed when it enjoyed an above-target debt auction on Tuesday.

Although the 12- and 18-month bonds came at a high price, the success lifted market spirits, which have been low amid talk Madrid would not be able to cut its huge public deficit.

Eyes will now be on a crucial sale auction of benchmark 10-year debt Thursday.

Adding to the positive sentiment was news that German investor confidence unexpectedly rose for the fifth month in a row.

Across the Atlantic, Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs said it more than doubled its first-quarter net profit, while chipmaker Intel said earnings came in better than expected, as did Coca-Cola.

The firms' Asian counterparts took heart from the results as their reporting season approaches.

US and European stock markets took the news well, posting strong gains.

On Wall Street the Dow closed up 1.50 percent, the S&P 500 advanced 1.55 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.82 percent.

Investors were also helped by the International Monetary Fund, which said in its semi-annual global forecast that the world economy would grow 3.5 percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2013, up from its earlier projection of 3.3 percent and 4.0 percent.

The dollar firmed to 81.42 yen in late afternoon Asian trade from 80.87 yen in New York late Tuesday. The euro bought $1.3090 and 106.60 yen against $1.3127 and 106.16 yen.

On oil markets, New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May was down two cents at $104.18 per barrel in the late afternoon while Brent North Sea crude for June shed $1.04 to $117.74.

Gold was at $1,647.00 an ounce at 1045 GMT, compared with $1,655.50 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Singapore ended 0.47 percent, or 13.99 points, higher at 3,000.58.

Singapore Telecom was up 0.32 percent at Sg$3.12 and DBS Bank fell 0.15 percent to Sg$13.51.

-- Taipei rose 0.25 percent, or 19.13 points, to 7,605.00.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co gained 1.43 percent to Tw$85.0 while leading smartphone maker HTC was 1.03 percent lower at Tw$480.0.

-- Manila closed 0.56 percent, or 28.92 points, higher at 5,186.20.

Megaworld was up 0.05 percent at 2.04 pesos, Metropolitan Bank and Trust added 3.45 percent to 92.95 pesos and BDO Unibank gained 1.43 percent to 67.45 pesos.

-- Wellington rose 1.21 percent, or 42.22 points, to 3,522.76.

Telecom rose 1.81 percent to NZ$2.53, while Fletcher Building was up 0.48 percent at NZ$6.29 and Air New Zealand was steady at NZ$0.87.

-- Jakarta rose 0.21 percent, or 8.87 points, to 4,166.24.

Bank Negara Indonesia gained 1.3 percent to 3,975 rupiah, while tin miner Timah rose 1.8 percent to 1,750 rupiah and consumer goods producer Unilever Indonesia gained 0.8 percent to 19,050 rupiah.

-- Kuala Lumpur climbed 0.17 percent, or 2.67 points, to 1,598.86.

Malayan Banking rose 0.68 percent to 8.87 ringgit, while telecoms firm Axiata Group rose 0.19 percent to 5.37 ringgit. Petronas Chemicals Group lost 0.15 percent to 6.70 ringgit.

-- Bangkok rose 0.67 percent, or 7.82 points, to 1,168.05.

-- Mumbai rose 0.20 percent, or 34.45 points, to 17,392.39.

India's leading motorcycle maker Bajaj Auto rose 2.7 percent to 1,718.2 rupees while vehicle maker Tata Motors rose 2.55 percent to 309.15, a day after the central bank lowered interest rates for the first time in three years but said further cuts were unlikely.

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