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A robust rally for Asian stocks was led by Tokyo, which continued to climb in the wake of the Bank of Japan’s unexpected move on Tuesday to loosen monetary policy.
Sentiment was curbed, however, by disappointing US retail sales and the postponement by eurozone officials of a meeting to discuss Greece’s second bail-out.
The FTSE Asia Pacific index rose 1.8 per cent to 246.55, a fresh six month high.
“Lack of progress on a second bail-out for Greece will keep markets nervous, leaving risk assets vulnerable to further slippage,” analysts at Credit Agricole said in a note.
Japanese exporters rallied on a fall in the yen to a three-month low against the US dollar, after the BoJ signalled an increase in purchases of government bonds to boost the slowing economy.
Honda rose 3.3 per cent to Y2,888, Toyota gained 4.7 per cent to Y3,265 and Sony jumped 5.7 per cent to Y1,575.
But Elpida Memory, Japan’s sole remaining maker of memory chips, tumbled 14.4 per cent to Y320 after warning that it might not be able to secure funds to stay afloat before an April deadline.
The Nikkei 225 Average climbed 2.3 per cent to 9,260.34.
In Sydney, Westfield climbed 5.3 per cent to A$8.81 after the Australian mall owner reported that second-half profit jumped fivefold on higher property management and project income, and unveiled plans to sell a 45 per cent stake in 11 US shopping malls and a mall-development site to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Lower metals prices dragged on resource stocks, however, and the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed just 0.3 per cent to 4,253.4.
South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor surged 5.3 per cent to Won29,000 in Seoul trading after SK Telecom paid about $3bn to complete the acquisition of 21 per cent of the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker. Shares in SK Telecom gained 1.1 per cent to Won139,000.
Hynix’s bigger rival Samsung Electronics rallied 5.1 per cent to Won1,135,000.
The Kospi Composite index climbed 1.1 per cent to 2,025.32.
Gains in Hong Kong were led by property and commodity stocks. Henderson Land was the biggest gainer on the Hang Seng index, up 6.1 per cent to HK$48.15, while aluminium trader Chinalco gained 4.9 per cent to HK$4.29.
Alibaba.com remained on a trading halt, amid reports that Yahoo’s efforts to sell its Asian investments had run into problems.
The Hang Seng gained 2.1 per cent to 21,365.23, while the mainland Shanghai Composite added 0.9 per cent to 2,366.7.