CANBERA (dpa-AFX) - Asian stock markets are mostly trading higher on Wednesday, tracking cues from Wall Street where stocks closed on a positive note overnight on some upbeat economic data.
The Australian stock market is trading slightly higher with investors indulging in some selective buying, tracking corporate earnings reports.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 13.2 points or 0.2 percent at 5,650.8. The broader All Ordinaries index is at 5,647.8, up 13.3 points or 0.2 percent from previous close.
Financial, mining and industrial stocks are edging higher, while property trusts and telecom stocks are weak. Energy and healthcare stocks are mixed.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac (WBK) are moving up 0.4 to 0.8 percent. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland are up 0.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals are up 0.5 to 0.7 percent, while Newcrest Mining is advancing 1.7 percent.
In the energy sector, Caltex Australia is rising 1.6 percent, Oil Search is moving up 0.7 percent and Origin Energy is up 1.2 percent, while Woodside Petroleum and Santos are down 2.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
WorleyParsons is moving up over 8 percent despite the company reporting a 23 percent decline in full-year profit.
Boral Ltd. shares are gaining 4.5 percent after the company nearly tripled its net profit on the back of a recovery in the housing market.
Lend Lease is up 1.7 percent on increasing full-year profit by nearly 50 percent and outlining a positive outlook for the next three years.
Iluka Resources is up 2.8 percent. Alumina (AWC), Asciano, Fairfax Media, Lend Lease Group, WorleyParsons, ALS, Arrium, Sims Metal Manageent and Seek are up 1.5 to 2 percent.
Whitehaven Coal is up 1 percent. The company reported full-year loss of A$38.4 million, narrower than loss of A$88.7 million in 2012-13.
Seven West Media is up by more than 1 percent after the company reported a full-year profit of A$149.2 million, turning around its A$70 million loss a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Telstra Corporation is declining 3.4 percent. Flight Centre Travel Group is down 2.8 percent after reporting a 16 percent fall in net profit for the year to June 30.
Primary Healthcare is down by about 3.2 percent. JB Hi-Fi, Recall Holdings, Investa Office Fund and Harvey Norman Holdings are lower by 1.3 to 1.6 percent.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher against the U.S. dollar. The local unit is currently trading at US$0.9315, up 0.2 percent from Tuesday's close of US$0.9294.
After a bright start on positive cues from Wall Street and a weaker yen, the Japanese market retreated and shed most of its gains this morning, with investors indulging in some profit taking.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which rose to 15,588.2, was up just 4.7 points at 15,525.9 when the morning session ended.
Among the prominent gainers, Furukawa Co. rose nearly 8 percent, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha advanced 3.7 percent, Sumitomo Osaka Cement surged up 3 percent and Showa Denko KK climbed 2.8 percent.
Advantest Corp. (ATE), Unitika and Kajima Corp. gained 2 to 2.5 percent. Oki Electric Industry, Credit Saison, Comsys Holdings Corp., Mitsui Chemicals, Obayashi Corp., Daikin Industries and Asahi Kasei Corp. were up more than 1.5 percent at the break.
Meanwhile, Denso Corp., Toho Co., Hitachi Zosen, Shiseido Co., Mitsubishi Estate, Aeon Co., Seven & I Holdings and Sapporo Holdings declined, losing 1 to 2.2 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 104 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 104.02 to the dollar, against Tuesday's close of 103.88 yen per dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are notably higher. Shanghai and Singapore are up with modest gains, while Hong Kong is slightly weak.
On Wall Street, stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 posting its first-ever finish above the 2,000 mark as strong durable goods orders and consumer confidence data and a flurry of merger news contributing to the buying interest.
The S&P 500 rose 2.1 points or 0.1%, to 2,000.02. The Dow too set an all-time high, closing at 17,106.7, with a gain of 29.8 points or 0.17 percent. The Nasdaq ended up 13.3 points or 0.3 percent at 4,570.6.
Major European markets too closed on a positive note on Tuesday. The French CAC 40 index gained 1.2 percent, while the Germany's DAX Index and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index moved up 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil snapped a two-day loss to end higher on Tuesday, ahead of the official weekly crude oil report on concerns over the escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine. Some strong data out the U.S. also contributed to crude oil's uptick, although worries of global supply outweighing demand remained.
Crude oil futures for October delivery ended up $0.51 or 0.5 percent at $93.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.