BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets posted modest gains Tuesday as the feel-good factor lingered from near-record highs on Wall Street and signs of an upswing in U.S. manufacturing.
Analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said that benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan are recuperating after recent sell-offs amid worries that the depreciating yen will hurt economic growth in those countries. South Korea release its January trade figures later this week and Taiwan reports fourth quarter economic growth.
"While exporters in Korea and Taiwan will face competition from Japanese counterparts, importers could benefit from a cheap the yen due to the high dependence on industrial supplies from Japan," DBS said in an email commentary.
South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent to 1,956.25. Technology giant Samsung Electronics jumped 3.2 percent, following four consecutive days of losses. Taiwan's TAIEX advanced 0.9 percent. Acer Inc., one of the world's leading PC manufacturers, surged 6.9 percent.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to 10,924.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped less than 0.1 percent to 23,662.12. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent to 4,887.40.
"Investors are a bit more confident and responding to the fact that interest rates are very low and being kept that way by central banks," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "They are looking to maintain the value of their portfolios by getting themselves into an asset class more likely to be earnings a reasonable return."
Japanese banks surged on expectations they will beat earnings estimates for fiscal 2012, the Nikkei newspaper reported. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group advanced 3.6 percent. Mizuho Financial Group gained 2.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 3.8 percent.
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