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Asian Markets Rebound as Investors Pick Up Financials

Asian markets rebounded after four straight sessions of losses, with some markets climbing nearly 5 percent as investors picked up financials and other battered stocks. Both Japan and South Korea finished over 2 percent higher.

Surprisingly strong earnings from the world's number one retailer Wal-Mart Stores and reassurance from the chief executive of Goldman Sachs that the investment bank does not face big credit losses helped boost appetite for stocks.

A rebound in the dollar against the yen also gave Japanese exporters a shot in the arm as a stronger U.S. currency usually translates to bigger profits from dollar sales.

The Nikkei 225 Average finished 2.5 percent higher, bouncing back from the previous session's 15-month low. Canon climbed 4.5 percent on its bid for flat panel-making equipment supplier Tokki Corp. Japan's three largest banks, Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group also advanced, tracking the rally in financial stocks on Wall Street.

South Korea's KOSPI closed 2.1 percent higher, with SK Telecom up on speculation it has been picked to buy a hanarotelecom stake, while techs gained as Apple's Wall Street surge boosted demand for the sector.

Australian shares rose 1.3 percent to a one-week closing high, with financial firms such as Macquarie Group and major banks leading the way up on easing credit market worries. Other big gainers included Caltex Australia, the country's only listed oil refiner and marketer, which gained almost 8 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose almost 5 percent, outpacing Wall Street's rally, as China Mobile shares rose on news that it was in talks with Apple to sell its iPhones. Refiner Sinopec also rallied, as easing crude prices should help boost its margins.

Singapore's Straits Times Index closed1.4 percent higher as investors bought battered financial stocks on renewed optimism after Nasdaq notched its biggest gain in over four years overnight. DBS Group, United Overseas Bank, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. were all sharply higher.

Chinese stocks rebounded after four straight days of losses, aided by strength in global markets, but investors remained cautious with monetary tightening expected as soon as this week. The Shanghai Composite Index was up nearly 5 percent.