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Asian stocks rise ahead of US bank 'stress tests'

Asian stocks rise ahead of US bank 'stress tests'

Asian markets edged higher as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. government's "stress tests" for the 19 largest American financial companies later this week. European markets opened mixed.
Britain's main stock index surged to catch up with Monday's global rally, lifted by signs of recovery in China, India and the U.S., with several Asian markets soaring more than 5 percent. Wall Street also advanced strongly on news of better-than-expected increases in U.S. home sales and construction spending in March.
But on Tuesday, many investors wanted more assurances before bidding up stocks higher and seemed to be looking for chances to pocket recent gains. U.S. stock index futures were narrowly mixed.
"After gains the last three days most investors are trying to unload shares," said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. "Selling pressure is there. The stress test will be a point for helping investors to decide if the bull market will continue."
Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index flitted in and out of positive territory to end the day up 49.03 points, or 0.3 percent, at 16,430.08.
Mainland China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index also edged up 0.3 percent to a nine-month high close of 2,567.34, as property shares fed expectations that the economy may be poised for recovery.
"At least in the short term, the economic outlook is optimistic. From private to fixed assets investment, data all look good," said Huang Xiangbin, an analyst for Cinda Securities in Beijing.
Poly Real Estate Group gained 1.5 percent while industry leader China Vanke rose 2.7 percent.
Australia's main index climbed 0.2 percent to 3,890.40, buoyed by the strong U.S. data. India's Sensex was down 0.5 percent to 12,078.82, and Singapore's Straits Times index rose 2.3 percent.
"It's all about sentiment," said Patersons Securities associate director John Curtin in Melbourne, Australia. "The feel is we may have seen the worst."
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 2.8 percent at 4,360.30, while Germany's DAX slipped 0.2 percent to 4,890.09.
Financial markets in Japan, South Korea and Thailand were closed for national holidays.
Wall Street rose strongly Monday after the Commerce Department reported that construction spending rose unexpectedly in March after five straight declines, while the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales rose during the month as buyers took advantage of deeply discounted prices and low interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.6 percent to 8,426.74, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 3.4 percent _ erasing its losses for the year. The index is now up 0.4 percent for 2009.
But some analysts worry that renewed anxiety about the health of the financial system could undo those gains if the U.S. bank stress tests _ designed to determine which banks would need more cash if the recession worsens _ show that several banks need more capital.
U.S. stock index futures were little changed. Dow futures were up 1 point to 8,360, while S&P 500 futures were down 1.3 points to 901.05.
Oil prices flat above $54 a barrel on general optimism about the global economy. Benchmark crude for June delivery was up 4 cents to $54.51 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 99.15 yen from 98.85 late Monday in New York, while the euro fell to $1.3374 from $1.3419.


Updated : 2021-06-24 20:35 GMT+08:00