Asian markets rise as Greece hopes spur buying

Asian markets rose for a second straight day on Tuesday as dealers picked up bargains after heavy selling through May, with confidence boosted by hopes that Greece will avoid exiting the eurozone.

Shares also received a lift on hopes that China will implement new stimulus measures to raise domestic demand and fast track some major construction projects.

Investors, however, remained nervous by eurozone woes as attention turned to Spain, where a growing banking and borrowing crisis has raised fears the country could be forced to ask for a bailout.

Tokyo rose 0.74 percent, or 63.93 points, to 8,657.08, with Panasonic gaining 3.87 percent to end at 536 yen following reports that it may halve its 7,000-strong Osaka headquarters as part of a bid to streamline the Japanese electronics giant following record annual losses.

Nomura Holdings rose 1.93 percent at 264 yen despite a report that Japan's securities watchdog will likely to ask financial regulators to take action against the investment bank over its alleged involvement in insider trading.

The Seoul market added 1.41 percent, or 25.74 points, to close at 1,849.91 while Sydney gained 1.14 percent, or 46.4 points, at 4,114,4.

Hong Kong closed 1.35 percent higher, adding 254.47 points to 19,055.46 and Shanghai rose 1.20 percent, or 28.27 points, up at 2,389.64.

Global markets have been in a downward spiral since May 6 elections in Greece saw anti-austerity parties -- who have promised to tear up terms of a bailout package -- post huge gains.

With no clear winner the country has been hit by political uncertainty until another election on June 17, with analysts warning anti-bailout groups would win and in turn see Athens leave the euro.

However, weekend opinion polls showed the pro-austerity conservatives in front, fuelling hopes Athens will eventually comply with the terms of the European Union-International Monetary Fund rescue deal.

While concerns that Greece could exit the eurozone remain high, Spain's struggles have come to the fore in the past week after Bankia, one of the country's biggest lenders, asked for $24 billion in state aid.

In Madrid Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday the country was struggling to borrow as the yields on benchmark Spanish bonds soared to 6.479 percent, considered too high for governments to keep servicing their debts.

However, he tried to soothe investors by saying that his government would not have to follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal in asking for a bailout to help pay its bills.

"Systemic risk is on the rise, and the problems have increasingly become circular, with banks themselves large holders of government debt," ANZ Research analysts said in a note.

"Spain has become another problem child for the (European Union)," it said.

The euro bought $1.2534 in Asian trade, against $1.2543 in London, while it was at 99.67 yen compared with 99.95 yen. US markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

The dollar was at 79.50 yen Tuesday, from 79.52 yen in London.

Shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong shares were given an added lift by a report in the state-run Shanghai Securities News that Beijing would introduce measures to jumpstart demand for automobiles.

The news stoked expectations of more stimulus for other parts of the economy after a string of recent data indicating the world's number two economy is easing.

"Investors can find opportunities in sectors like railroads, airlines, cars, water conservation, green energy, cement and heavy metals," Wang Bo, an analyst at China Minzu Securities, said.

"These are all areas that will get a boost in corporate profit as Beijing rolls out sector-specific stimulus projects here," he added, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

On oil markets New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in July was up 79 cents at $91.65 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July up 47cents to $107.58 in the late afternoon.

Gold was at $1,576.40 an ounce at 0805 GMT, compared with $1,578.70 late Monday.

In other markets:

-- Wellington rose 0.46 percent, or 16.04 points, to 3,478.29.

Telecom was up 1.57 percent at NZ$2.58 while Fletcher Building gained 1.79 percent to NZ$6.25.

-- Manila closed 1.42 percent, or 70.37 points, up at 5,023.11.

GT Capital Holdings rose 3.10 percent to 498 pesos, Universal Robina added 1.50 percent to 61 pesos and Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 1.79 percent to 2,306 pesos.

-- Taipei surged 2.89 percent, or 206.29 points, to 7,342.29.

Leading smartphone maker HTC rose 4.10 percent to Tw$432.0 while Hon Hai Precision gained 4.80 percent at Tw$89.5.

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