Forex Pros - Asian stock markets were broadly higher on Wednesday, as concerns over rising energy prices eased as oil prices declined, while the Nikkei was boosted by better-than-expected data on machinery orders.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.59%, South Korea's Kospi Composite gained 0.26%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.61%.
Oil prices fell below USD105 a barrel after Kuwait's oil minister said on Tuesday that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries were in talks to boost production for the first time in more than two years.
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific Airways saw shares jump 4.2% after it said 2010 net income soared by 66% to HKD14 billion, surpassing market expectations of HKD12.5 billion. Cathay also said it agreed to acquire 25 long-range jets from Boeing and Airbus for approximately USD5.98 billion.
Across the sector, Air China saw shares add 1.7%, while shares in Japan's largest airline company All Nippon Airways gained 1.3%.
In Japan, market sentiment was boosted after government data showed that Japanese machinery orders rose the most in five months in January, climbing by 4.2%, exceeding expectations for a 2.7% increase.
Following the data, shares in Japan's largest maker of industrial robots Fanuc climbed 1.05%, while rival Amada saw shares gain 0.75%.
Shares in Japanese exporters were higher as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar, boosting the outlook for export earnings.
The world's largest automaker Toyota saw shares gain 1.1%, Bridgestone Tires saw shares rally 3.1%, while consumer electronics giant Sony gained 0.9%.
The outlook for European stock markets was modestly upbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures indicated a gain 0.14%, France's CAC 40 futures pointed to an increase of 0.12%, Germany's DAX futures added 0.15%, while the FTSE 100 futures pointed a rise of 0.09%.
Later in the day, Germany was to publish official data on industrial production, while the U.S. was to release a report on wholesale sales.
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