By RTT News, October 15, 2013, 05:06:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Tuesday amid signs the White House and Congress are nearing an agreement to reopen the federal government and extend the U.S. debt ceiling to avert a default. After weeks of wrangling over fiscal policy, Senators from both parties said that they have made strong progress toward reaching a deal to end the fiscal impasse.
A meeting between President Barack Obama and Senate and House leaders Monday afternoon had been postponed to allow lawmakers make progress toward an accord. The treasury department will run out of its borrowing capacity on October 17 if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling by then.
Japanese shares extended gains for a fifth consecutive session on optimism Senate leaders will forge a debt-ceiling deal before the Thursday deadline. The Nikkei average rose 0.3 percent to 14,442, while the broader Topix index closed marginally higher. Fast Retailing, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mazda Motor, Nippon Paper and Oji Holdings rose 2-6 percent, while Nikon lost 2 percent and Advantest slipped 1.2 percent. Fuji Heavy Industries added 0.8 percent on a Nikkei report that the automaker might post a significant increase in its operating profit for the first half of the current year.
On the macroeconomic front, Japan's industrial production declined more than initially estimated in August, final data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. Factory output dropped 0.9 percent from a month ago, sharper than the 0.7 percent drop previously estimated. On a yearly basis, production fell 0.4 percent.
China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 percent, with banks pacing the declines on asset quality concerns. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed half a percent higher at 23,336, its highest level since Sept. 23.
Australian shares rose sharply, led by gains in banks and miners, amid the receding risk of a U.S. default and as Australia's central bank left the dollar open for another interest rate cut. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rallied a percent to 5,259, its highest closing level since September 30.
Rio Tinto Plc. shares rose 2.4 percent after the mining giant reaffirmed its full-year production guidance and announced the extension of its $2 billionKestrel Mine in an onsite ceremony near Emerald in central Queensland. Rival BHP Billiton added a percent, Fortescue Metals Group soared 5.8 percent and integrated energy firm Origin Energy rallied 3.1 percent. Telstra Corporation gained 1.4 percent after unveiling plans to expand aggressively in Asia.
According to the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia'sOct. 1 policy meeting, the central bank is neither ruling out further rate cuts, nor signaling an imminent intention to reduce rates. Members of the monetary policy board stated that the overall economy continues to perform below trend, keeping the dollar open for reducing rates further.
South Korea's Kospi average rallied a little over a percent to 2,041, its highest closing level since March last year. Overseas investors bought shares worth a net 315.9 billion won on Tuesday, extending their buying streak for a 33rd consecutive session, data showed. Tiremaker Hankook Tire Co., jumped 1.9 percent after announcing plans to build its first North American plant in Tennessee.
New Zealand shares gained ground, mirroring gains on Wall Street and in Asia this morning. The benchmark NZX-50 inched up 0.3 percent to 4,748. Xero shares soared 4.5 percent to a record high and Diligent Board Member Services rose 0.7 percent, snapping a two-day losing streak, while retailer Pumpkin Patch tumbled 2.9 percent. Infratil shares advanced 0.6 percent after the Wellington-based infrastructure investor agreed to sell its Manston Airport in the U.K. for 350,000 pounds.
New Zealand's housing market presents risks for both financial stability and price stability, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said. The country's housing market should overcome the problem of supply shortage to reduce risks to financial stability, he said during a speech in Auckland.
Elsewhere, India's Sensex was up 0.2 percent and the Taiwan Weighted average rallied 1.1 percent, while the markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were closed for public holidays.
U.S. stocks reversed early losses to finish higher overnight after top lawmakers said they are closer to agreeing on a plan to reopen the federal government and avoid a debt default. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 0.4 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 0.6 percent.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org