Asia stocks largely up tracking Sony shares; Nikkei up 2.29%


Shutterstock photo - Asian stocks rose on Wednesday after billionaire investor Dan Loeb urged Japanese electronics giant Sony to spin off its entertainment business.

A weaker yen spark demand for stocks, as did bullish comments from a noted U.S. hedge fund manager on stocks.

During Asian trading on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.52%, Australia's S&P/ASX200 was down 0.81%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was up 2.29%.

Demand for Sony shares sent stock prices gaining after Loeb, an activist shareholder, made his comments.

A weak yen also fueled the rally.

The yen recently dipped to lows not seen since October 2008 after economic policymakers from the Group of Seven industrialized economies concluded a meeting by refraining from criticizing Japan over policies that have pushed the yen down.

The Bank of Japan has rolled out massive stimulus measures in recent months to steer the country away from deflationary decline, which have weakened the yen.

Wealthy G7 nations concluded at a U.K. summit over the weekend that such policies are designed to spur growth in Japan and are not out to give the Asian economy unfair advantages in global trade arenas.

Elsewhere, David Tepper, founder and president of the Appaloosa Management hedge fund, told CNBC earlier that he is bullish on U.S. stocks, which sparked a rally on Wall Street that extended into Asia.

Also in the U.S., the National Federation of Independent Business reported earlier that its small-business optimism index rose to 92.1 in April from 89.5 in March.

Analysts were expecting a reading of 89.8.

In Hong Kong, top gainers included Li & Fung, up 6.50%, Esprit Holdings, up 1.97%, and Tencent, up 1.45%.

In Australia, top decliners included UGL Ltd., down 15.05%, Mirabela Nickel Ltd., down 11.76%, and Downer EDI Ltd., down 9.72%.

European stock futures indicated a lower opening.

France's CAC 40 futures pointed to a loss of 0.04%, while Germany's DAX 30 futures pointed to a loss of 0.06%. Meanwhile in the U.K., FTSE 100 futures were also down 0.06%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 0.03%, while the S&P 500 futures were down 0.06%.

On Thursday, Japan is to release preliminary data on first quarter economic growth, the broadest indicator of economic activity and the leading measure of the economy's health. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.
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