(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Monday, tracking cues from Wall Street where the major averages ended on a firm note Friday with investors reacting positively to some encouraging earnings and economic news.
In the Australian market, energy, mining, healthcare and property trusts stocks are among the notable gainers.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 14.8 points or 0.3 percent at 5,4851. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 5,484.5, up 14.2 points or 0.3 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Commerce and Westpac (WBK) are advancing 0.3 to 0.5 percent, while National Australia Bank is down marginally. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are moving up 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Among the top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals are modestly higher, while Newcrest Mining is down marginally.
In the energy sector, Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy are up 0.3 to 0.5 percent, while Caltex Australia and Woodside Petroleum are trading flat.
Metcash is advancing nearly 3 percent. Incitec Pivot, Qantas Airways, WorleyParsons, Navitas, Flight Centre Travel Group and Macquarie Group are up 1.5 to 2.3 percent.
Perpetual, JB Hi-Fi, Orora, ALS and Treasury Wine Estates are also trading notably higher.
Meanwhile, Regis Resources is declining nearly 9 percent. Challenger is losing about 4.3 percent. SP Ausnet and Myer Holdings are lower by 2.5 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened weak against the U.S. dollar, but recovered subsequently. The local unit is currently trading at US$09259, up from Friday's close of US$0.9241.
The Japanese stock market surged higher, lifted by a stronger dollar and Friday's gains on Wall Street.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 104.9 points or 0.7 percent at 14,567 at the end of the morning session, after having advanced to 14,592.6 in early trades.
Nikon Corp. moved up 5.4 percent. Sony Corp. ( SNE ) rose 3.7 percent and Kansai Electric Power gained about 3.5 percent. Toshiba Corp., Ube Industries and NTN Corp. were up by around 3 percent at the break.
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Tokuyama Corp., Fuji Electric, Daiwa Securities Group, Yokogawa Electric, Nissan Chemical Industries, NEC Corp., Japan Steel Works, Sharp Corp., JFE Holdings and Nomura Holdings were all up over 2.5 percent.
Suzuki Motor, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Fuji Heavy Industries, Softbank Corp., Unitika, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. also rose sharply.
Toto Co. was up 0.7 percent. The company said last Friday that it will increase capital spending to 140 billion yen for the four years from fiscal 2014 to 2017, aiming to expand overseas sales of water-saving toilets and electronic toilet seats.
Among the notable losers, Sumitomo Chemical was down over 4.5 percent. Amada Co., Tokyo Tatemono, Trend Micro, Obayashi Corp., Inpex Corp., Kubota Corp.Eisai Co., Nippon Electric Glass, Resona Holdings and Shionogi were down 0.5 to 2.3 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar was hovering around 102 yen, slightly higher than Friday's close.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan are trading in positive territory with modest gains, while Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea are trading weak.
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Friday, thanks to a positive reaction to earnings news from Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) and better than expected new home sales in April.
The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory, near their highs for the session. The Dow rose 63.2 points or 0.4 percent to 16,606.3, the Nasdaq advanced 31.5 points or 0.8 percent to 4,185.8 and the S&P 500 climbed 8.0 points or 0.4 percent to 1,900.5, a new closing high.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index ended higher by 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended higher on Friday, on prospects of strong demand for oil after some upbeat new home sales data from the U.S., notwithstanding a strong dollar. Crude for July delivery ended up $0.61 or 0.6 percent at $104.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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