CANBERA (Alliance News) - Asian stocks ended broadly higher for a second day in a row Tuesday, with sentiment lifted by overnight gains in the US and European markets as concerns that geopolitical events could derail the global economic recovery ebbed.
Chinese shares dropped as investors turned cautious ahead of a slew of data on industrial output, retail sales and fixed asset investment due on Wednesday. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 0.14% to 2,221.59 after climbing 1.4% to an eight-month high the day before on speculation policymakers still have room for monetary easing. Hong Kong'sHang Seng index, meanwhile, rose 0.18% to 24,689.41, extending Monday's rally.
Japanese shares rose modestly, extending their rebound from a two-month low hit on Friday. The benchmark Nikkei average rose 0.2% to 15,161.31, while the broader Topix index gained 0.4%. Exporters ended broadly higher as the safe-haven yen slid against the dollar on the back of improved risk appetite.
Canon, Mazda Motor, Fanuc, Panasonic, Sony, Hitachi, Nissan Motor and Toyota Motor rose between 0.4% and 0.8%. Credit Saison advanced 0.6% on a brokerage upgrade. Ebara Corp. tumbled 3.7% on posting a loss in the first quarter. Kawasaki Heavy Industries slipped 0.3% on a report it will take part in developing the engine for Airbus' new mid-sized passenger aircraft.
In economic news, an index measuring domestic corporate service prices in Japan rose 0.3% in July from the previous month, central bank data showed -standing at 106.6. That was shy of forecasts for an increase of 0.4%. Another report from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's industrial output slid 3.4% in June from the previous month, compared to the initial estimate of 3.3% decline.
Australian shares rose sharply, with firm cues from offshore markets and data showing a rise in business confidence supporting sentiment. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1.34% to 5,530.3 in quiet trading. The big four banks rose between 1.4% and 1.9%, while mining giant BHP Billiton advanced 1.5%, Rio Tinto added 1.6% and Fortescue Metals Group jumped 2%.
Retailer Woolworths slid 0.4% after missing earnings guidance on its home improvement division. Shares of engineering group Bradken soared nearly 8%. The company reported a fall in fiscal 2014 profit but issued a strong outlook for the year ahead. Domino's Pizza Enterprises climbed 13.5%. The company reported a 50% increase in full-year profit on the back of store growth and digital innovation.
On the economic front, house prices in Australia climbed 1.8% sequentially in the second quarter of 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That topped forecasts for an increase of 1.0%. On a yearly basis, house prices jumped 10.1%. Separately, the latest survey from National Australia Bank revealed that an index measuring business confidence in Australia touched a four-year high in July. The headline index rose to 11 from 8 in June.
Seoul shares ended little changed despite overseas investors buying shares worth a net 94.9 billion won on easing concerns arising out of conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq. The benchmark Kospi average finished up 0.1% at 2,041.47.
New Zealand shares rose slightly, as investors stayed cautious ahead of the earnings season. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 0.12% to 5055.81. Xero paced the gainers, rising 2.3% to USD23.22, while Summerset Group Holdings fell 2.7% after unveiling its first-half results. Stock exchange operator NZX declined 2.3% after reporting an 8.3% rise in first half profit yesterday.
In economic releases, data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed that its housing price Index dropped 2.6% month-over-month to 11,250 in July. On an annual basis, the REINZ housing price index rose 8.1% in the month.
Elsewhere, Singapore's Straits Times was marginally higher, India's Sensex was moving up 0.7% and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was gaining 0.4%, while the Taiwan Weighted average edged down 0.1%.
The Singapore economy grew by 2.4% year-over-year in the second quarter, matching expectations and up from the advance estimate that suggested a gain of 2.1%, official data showed.
US stocks rose overnight, extending Friday's rebound, as concerns eased over the tense situation in Ukraine and the Middle East and dovish comments from a top Federal Reserve official suggested that the Fed will keep interest rates low for a very long time. The Dow rose 0.1%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 0.7% and the S&P 500 added 0.3%.