Asian markets rise on Wall Street lead

Asian markets mostly rose on Wednesday following a positive lead from Wall Street, while European Group of Seven members promised a speedy response to the continent's debt crisis.

The euro edged higher as traders looked to a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day in the hope of stimulus measures to boost the crisis-hit eurozone.

Tokyo closed up 1.81 percent, or 151.53 points, at 8,533.53, while Sydney edged up 0.29, or 11.6 points, to close at 4,055.3, after data showed the economy grew better than expected in the January-March period.

Hong Kong was 1.43 percent, or 261.50 points, higher at 18,520.53 and Shanghai eased 0.10 percent, or 2.37 points, to 2,309.55.

Seoul was closed for a public holiday.

As well as the boost from hopes for an ECB stimulus, sentiment was lifted by a Wall Street Journal report saying the US Federal Reserve was again contemplating stimulus measures.

"Investors are expecting global central banks to roll out policies," Jackson Wong, an investment manager at Tanrich Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

In an emergency teleconference Tuesday, the European members of the Group of Seven industrialised economies vowed to respond "speedily" to the continent's crisis, Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi was cited as saying by Jiji Press.

Some analysts expressed disappointment, however, saying the leaders appeared to lack a sense of urgency.

European leaders are under mounting pressure to take bold steps at an end-June summit to save the euro as eurozone states buckle under the pressure of recession and debt.

The White House said it hoped for "accelerated" action in coming weeks ahead of a G20 summit in Mexico later in June.

Tuesday's talks came after Spain asked for help for its under-pressure banking system in order to avoid a bailout.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for a European banking union that would be able to provide aid to lenders, a move that was seeing support in France and at the ECB. Germany remains strongly opposed.

In Australia, stellar growth provided a bright spot, with Treasurer Wayne Swan hailing the figures in the mining-driven economy as "remarkable."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said the 1.3 percent quarter-on-quarter expansion, compared with an upwardly-revised 0.6 percent for the final quarter of 2012, took annual growth to 4.3 percent.

The figures beat forecasts of 0.7 percent and 3.4 percent respectively.

On currency markets the euro bought $1.2496 and 98.92 yen in early European trade, against $1.2450 and 98.03 yen in New York late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 79.15 yen from 78.72 yen.

In New York stocks ended higher after the Institute for Supply Management's index on the services sector -- which accounts for about 70 percent of the US economy -- rose unexpectedly.

The Dow ended 0.22 percent higher Tuesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.57 percent and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.66 percent.

Oil was up in late afternoon trade. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in July, was up $1.01 to $85.30 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July gained 86 cents to $99.70.

Gold was up at $1,635.50 an ounce at 1100 GMT, compared with $1,617.60 late Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Mumbai jumped 2.71 percent, or 433.66 points, to close at 16,454.3.

Leading vehicle maker Tata Motors rose 5.71 percent to 234.2 rupees while State Bank of India rose 3.81 percent to 2,159.45.

-- Taipei gained 0.80 percent, or 55.70 points, to 7,056.15.

-- Manila closed 0.83 percent, or 40.91 points, up at 4,966.58.

Alliance Global Group gained 1.01 percent to 11.94 pesos while DMCI Holdings rose 2.61 percent to 55 pesos.

-- Wellington rose 1.28 percent, or 43.72 points, to 3,464.52.

Fletcher Building was up 2.61 percent at NZ$6.30, Telecom Corp. rose 1.64 percent to NZ$2.475 and Chorus was up 2.19 percent at NZ$3.26.

-- Singapore closed up 1.79 percent, or 48.52 points, to 2,760.83.

Oil rig maker Keppel Corp was up 1.66 percent to Sg$9.83 while palm oil producer Wilmar International gained 1.71 percent at Sg$3.57.

-- Kuala Lumpur ended 0.58 percent, or 9.07 points higher, at 1,569.43.

Conglomerate YTL Corp. gained 2.1 percent to 1.92 ringgit, Kuala Lumpur Kepong added 1.4 percent to 22.54 and financial firm CIMB Group rose 0.9 percent to 7.49.

-- Jakarta rose 3.32 percent, or 123,455 points, closing at 3,841.331.

Bank Mandiri was up 3.8 percent to 6,900 rupiah and car maker Astra gained 5.3 percent to 6,950 rupiah.

-- Bangkok was up 1.71 percent, or 18.80 points, to 1,117.95.

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