Asia markets mostly higher amid recovery hopes

HONG KONG: Most Asian markets pushed higher Tuesday as stronger earnings from major companies continued to bolster confidence that the global economy is closer to recovery.

Tokyo's market outperformed the region after being closed for a holiday Monday, though traded off its highs as investors eyed the unfolding shake-up in Japanese national politics. Oil prices fell and the dollar was lower against the yen.

The gains came after Wall Street extended its winning streak, helped by better economic data, a deal to rescue troubled lender CIT Group and second-quarter earnings from companies like toy maker Hasbro that topped forecasts.

Global equities have resumed their upward momentum in recent days, reflecting investor relief that corporate results and outlooks have come in better than expected so far, suggesting the economy is on the mend.

"The signs are telling us the economies are actually recovering," said Alex Tang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International. "Many people are thinking the worst is over and it's time to buy again."

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average added 151.54, or 1.6 percent, to 9,546.86 as Japan's Cabinet agreed to dissolve the powerful lower house of parliament, setting the stage for national elections. Parliament was widely expected to formally disband Tuesday afternoon.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.4 percent to 1,484.78 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 37.46, or 0.2 percent, to 19,539.83 after dipping in early trade. Benchmarks in Australia and Taiwan also climbed modestly while China's Shanghai market dropped 0.4 percent.

In the U.S. Monday, the Dow rose 104.21, or 1.2 percent, to 8,848.15 for its sixth straight advance, the lengthiest string of gains since a seven-day rise in April 2007. It was the benchmark's best close since Jan. 6.

The S&P 500 index rose 10.75, or 1.1 percent, to 951.13, its best finish since Nov. 5.

U.S. stock futures pointed to modest losses Tuesday on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 34, or 0.4 percent, at 8,771 and S&P futures fell 2.9, or 0.3 percent, to 946.10.

Oil prices were weaker in Asia, with benchmark crude for August delivery down 25 cents at $63.73. The contract gained 42 cents overnight.

The dollar fell to 93.86 yen from 94.21 yen. The euro was lower at $1.4198 from $1.4223.