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Asia stocks broadly higher as financials gain; Nikkei jumps 1%

Stock Markets May 18, 2011 02:52AM ET
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Investing.com – Asian stock markets were broadly higher on Wednesday, rising for the first time three days with a rebound in recently beaten down stocks underpinning gains, while the Nikkei was boosted by strong gains in the banking sector. 

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.5%, South Korea's Kospi Composite rallied 1.6%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped 1%.

Shares in Japan’s third largest lender Mizuho Financial Group jumped 3.15% after the Nikkei Newspaper reported that the lender planned to merge its retail and corporate banks by 2013.

Across the sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s biggest bank, rose 2.4%, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rallied 3.5%.

Shares in Tokyo Electric Power Company advanced for the first time in five days, climbing 2.4% after the company said it expected to cool reactors at its stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant by as early as October, maintaining its earlier timetable.

Meanwhile, shares in chipmaker Renesas Electronics surged 5.8% after it laid out a plan to bring post-quake production near Tokyo back up to full speed in October, earlier than expected.

In Hong Kong, shares Asia’s largest casino operator SJM Holdings soared 7.4% to hit an all-time high after it reported first quarter profit jumped 85% from a year earlier. Gambling revenue grew 43% to HKD18.14 billion.

Shares in oil producers were broadly higher after oil prices rebounded from a three-month low. Oil and gas giant PetroChina saw shares add 1.5%, shares in CNOOC jumped 2.3%, while China Shenhua Energy saw shares advance 2.4%.

The outlook for European equity markets, meanwhile, was upbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.4%, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.3%, the FTSE 100 futures pointed to a rise of 0.25%, while Germany's DAX futures indicated an increase of 0.5%. 

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve was to publish the minutes of its last policy meeting.

Asia stocks broadly higher as financials gain; Nikkei jumps 1%
 

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