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Asian Stocks End Higher on EU Crisis Deal

Asian stock indexes charged higher on Monday, led by Hong Kong and Sydney, following news that global policy makers unleashed a massive rescue package to contain the Greek debt crisis.

Markets took heart from news that European Union finance ministers had agreed an emergency loan package that with IMF support, could reach 750 billion euros ($957 billion) to prevent a sovereign debt crisis spreading through the euro zone.

In a show of support, major global central banks re-established dollar swap facilities used during the 2007-2008 financial crisis to help ease strains and ensure there was enough liquidity to keep global credit markets from seizing up again.

The European Central Bank also announced steps to contain Greece's debt crisis, saying it would buy euro zone government and private debt, and abandoned resistance to full-scale bond purchases.

Japan's Nikkei average finished 1.6 percent higher, buoyed by a technical rebound after falling over 6 percent last week and by a massive stabilization plan for the euro zone to keep Greece's fiscal woes from spreading.

The benchmark Nikkei climbed 166.11 points to 10,530.70, while the broader Topix rose 1.4 percent to 944.64.

Shares of Toray jumped 5.6 percent to 545 yen. The Japanese textile maker said it has not yet determined the value of a 15-year deal with Airbus but the Nikkei business daily reported that it could be worth 200 to 300 billion yen ($2.2-3.3 billion).

Softbank Corp climbed 4.5 percent to 2,163 yen, rebounding after falling for the past four trading sessions, as it is set to start selling Apple's iPad tablet computer in Japan later this month.

Bridgestone advanced 4.7 percent to 1,634 yen after Japan's largest maker of tires said it has raised its operating profit forecast for the six months to June by 61 percent to 50 billion yen on the back of brisk sales.

Shares of companies with exposure to China gained after sliding last week on a combination of worries about Chinese monetary tightening and a fall in Shanghai shares.

Machinery maker Komatsu rose 1.9 percent to 1,795 yen and shipper Kawasaki Kisen climbed 3.6 percent to 375 yen. Hitachi Construction gained 1.6 percent to 1,936 yen.

But shares of Panasonic fell 1.8 percent to 1,287 yen after the world's No.4 flat TV maker forecast full-year operating profit figures below market expectations.

Seoul Rebounds 1.8%

Seoul shares ended up 1.83 percent after an emergency fund to address eurozone debt issues stoked investor appetite for battered financial shares such as Woori Finance, while blue-chip tech and auto issues also rose.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 30.13 points at 1,677.63 points.

Shares in KB Financial Group ended up 5.35 percent and Woori Finance Holdings jumped 8.44 percent.

Hanjin Heavy Industries closed 6.38 percent higher after the company said on Monday that its Philippines-based unit had won a $500 million order from a European shipper to build eight bulk carriers.

Shares in NCSoft advanced 5.74 percent on positive brokerage reports. SK Securities lifted its rating on NCSoft to "buy" from "neutral" and also raised its target price on the online game firm to 205,000 won from the previous 165,000 won, citing a positive earnings outlook.

Shares in Dong-A Pharmaceutical surged 7.73 percent after the company confirmed a local media report GlaxoSmithKline was in talks to buy a stake in the firm.

Australia Up 2.7% in Relief Rally

Australian stocks rose 2.7 percent, the sharpest rise in more than five months, after a
massive stabilization plan for the euro zone to keep Greece's fiscal woes from spreading, relieved investors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 119.09 points at 4,599.80 points, to post its sharpest daily rise since the end of November last year.

The benchmark index suffered its biggest weekly drop last week since November 2008, when the global financial crisis was at its peak, on worries about Greece's debt crisis spreading and the impact of a hefty new mining tax in Australia.

In Australia, uncertainty still prevails over a super profit tax for miners and investors would watch for more announcements from the federal budget on Tuesday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent to 3,170.6.

But amid sharp gains for banks and miners, takeover target Macarthur Coal dropped 2.3 percent after U.S. miner Peabody Energy cut its takeover bid to $3.4 billion over Australia's proposed a hefty new tax on miners.

Top banks were up between 3.5 percent to 5.2 percent as investors bought soothed by hopes the euro zone crisis would be contained and not affect funding costs too sharply. No.2 lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, led rising 5.2 percent.

Mining stocks battered by the hefty tax announcement rose as investors saw value. BHP Billiton was up 4 percent, Rio Tinto climbed 5.9 percent, its biggest gain since June 2009, and Fortescue Metals Group firmed 5 percent.

Shares in Australian toll road operator Transurban Group were placed on trading halt. It said it had agreed to buy the Lane Cove tunnel in Sydney for A$630.5 million ($560 million) and would sell new shares to help pay for the deal.

Incitec Pivot, Australia's top fertilizer maker rose 4.6 percent after it said earnings would be biased to the second half. It reported a 14 percent fall in first-half profit, hit by a slide in fertiliser prices and U.S. demand for explosives and a stronger Australian dollar.

Taiex Rises 1.2%

Taiwan stocks rose for the first time in over two weeks, buoyed by news the European Union had agreed on a support package for the Greece debt crisis.

The main TAIEX share index jumped 1.29 percent or 97.63 points to 7,664.73, ending in positive territory for the first time since April 26 and marking its best percentage gain in more than two weeks.

UMC, the world's No.2 contact chipmaker, rose 1.4 percent, lifting the electronics sub-index 1.3 percent.

The gain comes after Taiwan's exports rose 48 percent in April from a year earlier and UMC's April sales jumped 36 percent.

Bigger rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) inched up 0.67 percent. Shortly after the market close, TSMC said its April sales rose 50 percent from a year earlier.

But Shanghai Composite lagged the region, closing up 0.4 percent, as concerns mounted that rising inflation could prompt further tightening policies and crimp economic growth.

Hong Kong led the Greater China markets, with the Hang Seng index 2.5 percent higher.

Among the top gainers were Europe-focused retailer Esprit Holdings and the continent's biggest lender HSBC, both up about 2.8 percent, after heavy selloffs since mid-April over fears of a euro zone debt crisis.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore's Straits Time Index rose 2.1 percent while Malaysia's KLCI edged up 0.1 percent.

Sembcorp Industries outperformed the broader Singapore market. Its shares gained 3.2 percent after company posted a 19 percent jump in first quarter profit but growth is expected to slow in the coming quarters.

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