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Asian Markets Close Higher, Japan Flat

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 23 Oct 2007 | 5:33 AM ET

Asian stocks closed higher Tuesday, reversing two straight sessions of declines. But Japan finished almost unchanged on lingering worries about high oil prices and the full impact of the U.S. housing slump on its economy.

Apple beat Wall Street's targets with a 67 percent rise in quarterly profit, sending its shares rising further in after-hours trade.

Japanese stocks ended nearly flat, with Nikkei 225 Average edging up just 0.07 percent despite gains by exporters such as Sony as thin trade and a lack of incentives took a toll. Buying emerged on a sense that the market had fallen too far on Monday, when the Nikkei lost more than 500 points, but rises were limited as market participants awaited a flood of Japanese corporate earnings and U.S. economic data reports later this week.

South Korea's KOSPI closed 2.3 percent higher, its biggest daily percentage gain in three weeks, as STX Shipbuilding surged after buying a stake in a Norwegian ship builder, while Apple's strong results boosted tech stocks like LG Electronics.

Australian shares rose 1 percent, as investors sought bargains in financial firms such as Macquarie Bank and major banks, which had been sold off in the previous two sessions. Goldminex Resources made a sparkling trading debut, rising as much as 40 percent above its issue price of A$0.75.

Singapore's Straits Times Index finished 1.9 percent higher despite the tumble taken by SembCorp Marine and its parent SembCorp Industries. SembCorp Marine, the world's second-largest maker of offshore rigs, removed a finance executive for allegedly undertaking "unauthorized" foreign exchange transactions which may lead to potential losses for the firm.

Hong Kong blue chips jumped 3.5 percent, outpacing other recovering Asian markets, with China Mobile leading the way following its better-than-expected quarterly results. China plays also made strong gains as investors bid up PetroChina ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering in Shanghai, while Bank of Communications surged to a record high in heavy trade.

Chinese stocks bucked the region's advance throughout most of the session and traded lower, but then rebounded ahead of the close to end 1.9 percent in the green.