Asian stock markets Visit Positive Territory

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Asian stock markets are in positive territory on Tuesday after U.S. stocks closed higher overnight for a second straight session. Markets are showing signs of stabilizing following last week's brutal selloff that was triggered by worries over rising interest rates.

The Australian market is rising after U.S. stocks gained for a second straight session and as investors digested upbeat local corporate earnings results. Mining stocks are among the leading gainers.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is advancing 17.30 points or 0.30 percent to 5,838.00, off a high of 5,850.60 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is adding 21.00 points or 0.35 percent to 5,940.70. Australian shares closed a tad lower on Monday.

Among the major miners, Rio Tinto is rising almost 2 percent, BHP Billiton is adding 1 percent and Fortescue Metals is up almost 1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is rising 1 percent and Evolution Mining is gaining more than 3 percent after gold prices gained overnight.

The big four banks are mixed. ANZ Banking and Westpac are down in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent, while Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank are higher, also in a range of 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks are mostly lower despite crude oil prices edging higher overnight. Santos is rising more than 1 percent, while Woodside Petroleum is lower by almost 1 percent and Oil Search is down 0.2 percent.

GPT Group said its full-year net profit rose 10 percent from last year on higher revenues. The property investment and management group's shares are adding 0.2 percent.

Cochlear reported a 1 percent decline in profit for the first half, partly due to U.S. tax changes, but raised its dividend and affirmed its full-year outlook. The hearing implant developer's shares are declining more than 1 percent.

Transurban Group reported that its first-half net profit more than tripled on higher toll revenue growth and also raised its interim dividend. The toll road operator's shares are lower by 0.3 percent.

Boral Ltd. said its first-half profit rose almost 13 percent and revenue surged 40 percent. However, the building materials supplier's shares are lower by more than 1 percent.

Challenger Ltd said it is on track to achieve its full-year outlook after its half-year underlying profit rose nearly 6 percent. However, the investment management company's shares are losing more than 1 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see January results for the indexes of business confidence and conditions from NAB today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar climbed firmly above the $0.78 level on Tuesday. The local unit was quoted at US$0.7861, up from US$0.7835 on Monday.

The Japanese market, which resumed trading on Tuesday following a long weekend, is advancing after U.S. stocks closed higher overnight.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 218.49 points or 1.02 percent to 21,601.11, off a high of 21,660.18 in early trades. The Japanese market was closed on Monday for the National Foundation Day holiday.

The major exporters are mostly higher despite a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric is rising more than 2 percent, Panasonic is advancing almost 1 percent and Canon is adding 0.2 percent, while Sony is declining almost 1 percent. SoftBank is gaining almost 3 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is declining 0.6 percent, while Honda is edging up less than 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising more than 1 percent.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.6 percent after the bank agreed to pay $30 million to end U.S. antitrust litigation that alleges it conspired with other banks to rig yen Libor and Euroyen Tibor benchmark rates at the expense of investors.

In the oil space, Inpex is adding almost 1 percent, while Japan Petroleum Exploration is lower by more than 5 percent even as crude oil prices edged higher overnight.

Fujifilm's shares are losing almost 2 percent after billionaire investor and Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn criticized Xerox's plan to sell itself to the Japanese company, saying the transaction "dramatically undervalues Xerox and disproportionately favors Fuji."

Among the market's best performers, Citizen Watch is gaining almost 11 percent, while Chiyoda Corp. and Toray Industries are rising more than 6 percent each. On the flip side, Pioneer Corp is losing almost 11 percent, Sumitomo Osaka Cement is declining more than 4 percent and Dowa Holdings is lower by almost 4 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that producer prices in Japan picked up 0.3 percent on month in January. That was in line with expectations and up from the downwardly revised 0.1 percent gain in December.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai and Hong Kong are rising more than 2 percent each, while South Korea and Singapore are adding more than 1 percent each. New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher. Markets in India are closed for the Maha Shivaratri holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Monday as traders continued to pick up stocks at reduced levels following recent weakness. Trading activity remained somewhat subdued, however, with a lack of major U.S. economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines.

The Dow soared 410.37 points or 1.7 percent to 24,601.27, the Nasdaq jumped 107.47 points or 1.6 percent to 6,981.96 and the S&P 500 surged up 34.65 points or 1.4 percent to 2,656.00.

The major European markets all moved sharply higher on Monday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both jumped by 1.2 percent.

Crude oil futures inched higher Monday, but were unable to hold $60 a barrel despite a rebound for U.S. stocks. WTI crude for March delivery inched up $0.09 or 0.2 percent to $59.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.