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Asian Stocks End Up on Spain Deficit Measures

Asian stocks logged impressive gains on Thursday, following the strong gains on Wall Street, after Spain outlined measures to cut its deficit, easing fears that the Greek debt crisis could spread in Europe.

Japan's stocks ended 2.18 percent higher, after Spain outlined measures to cut its deficit, easing fears the Greek debt crisis could spread in Europe and boosting exporters such as Advantest.

Shares of companies with upbeat earnings and outlooks found favor as well, with information services company CSK Holdings surging more than 14 percent at one stage, after it forecast a jump in profit this financial year.

The benchmark Nikkei rose 226.5 points to 10,620.55, after slipping 0.2 percent the previous day. The broader Topix added 1.6 percent to 947.90.

Exporter shares gained to help push up the overall market. Advantest jumped 3.2 percent to 2,343 yen and TDK advanced 4.8 percent to 6,230 yen.

Sony ended 4.4 percent higher at 3,175 yen. After the bell, the electronics and entertainment conglomerate reported an operating loss of 56.0 billion yen for the three months ended March, versus a loss of 294.3 billion yen in the same quarter a year earlier.

For the year, it forecast a five-fold jump in operating profit as the Japanese electronics maker expands flat TV sales and launches 3D-capable videogames, but the outlook missed market expectations.

CSK Holdings shot up 14 percent to 494 yen. The company estimated annual operating profit at 10 billion yen, beating an average of 7.7 billion yen from two analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

But Nissan Motor bucked the trend, slipping 1.34 percent to 735 yen after Japan's No.3 automaker said it expects growth in emerging markets and launches of new models such as its Micra compact to provide only a modest boost to profits this year.

Nissan forecast an annual operating profit of 350 billion yen, up 12 percent from the 311.6 billion yen it made last year but lagging a consensus forecast of 411 billion yen in a poll of
22 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical dropped 3 percent to 3,870 yen after Japan's biggest drugmaker said it expected profit to slump 18 percent this year, hit by patent expirations on key drugs.

KOSPI Up 1.7%

Seoul shares closed 1.9 percent higher, driven by gains in auto and financial issues and helped
further by easing fears about a euro zone debt crisis.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended up 31.55 points at 1,694.58 points.

Rises were fueled by auto issues, with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors hitting fresh historical highs.

Hyundai Motor surged 5.6 percent at 141,500 won, after hitting a high of 141,500 won, and Kia Motors rose 2.8 percent to 31,150 won.

"Hyundai Motor is doing so well overseas, to the point of being short-supplied. Both Hyundai and Kia are expected to do very well this quarter," said Song Sang-hoon, an analyst at Kyobo
Securities.

Financials also advanced as appetite for the sector picked up. KB Financial surged 4.49 percent and Shinhan Financial climbed 4 percent to 41,500 won.

Australian shares rose 1.7 percent, with strong domestic jobs numbers for April supporting sentiment.

Australian employment rose by a more-than-expected 33,700 in April while full-time jobs saw an increase of 37,500. The jobless rate was 5.4 percent, just above the consensus forecast of 5.3 percent.

Worries about the government's proposed 40 percent tax on resources profits have also eased on the growing view that the tax will be watered down before it is implemented, if it even gets through Parliament.

Three of the top four banks rose in the range of 1.1-2.5 percent, rebounding from declines in the previous session, as investors shrugged off reports about a potential class action against the banks for charging high fees. No lawsuit has been filed yet.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which reported a slightly disappointing third-quarter profit on Wednesday, lagged the gains, rising 1.18 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 79.5 points to reach 4,652.5.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton chalked up healthy gains, rising 1.7 percent and Rio Tinto 1.89 percent.

Paper merchant PaperlinX jumped 4.4 percent to A$0.825 after saying it had refinanced all of its debt, and was no longer restricted by its lenders on whether it would be allowed to pay dividends.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals fell 4.1 percent to A$0.35 after its chief financial officer resigned, adding to uncertainty at the drug manufacturer and pharmacy group. Its long-time CEO
Elmo de Alwis quit in April after the group was forced to take a hefty writedown on its generic drugs business.

Toll road operator Transurban slid 5.6 percent to a six-month low of A$4.62 after it rejected a $3.7 billion takeover offer from its top three shareholders.

Greater China Heads Higher

Among Greater China markets, Taiwan's Taiex led the pack with a 2.2 percent jump while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained over 1 percent.

Bank stocks lifted China' key Shanghai Composite Index, whichadvanced 2.1 percent by the close.

The market bounced from a one-year low touched the day before, after a domestic media report said Beijing had approved 287 billion yuan ($42 billion) in additional financing for its four biggest listed lenders.

Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank (CCB) and Bank of Communications were approved for the combined fundraising quota, the National Business Daily reported on Thursday, citing unidentified sources.

ICBC, China's biggest lender and the most active stock in Shanghai, rose 1.6 percent, while Bank of China rose 1.5 percent.

Shares of ZTE, China's No. 2 telecoms equipment maker, were sharply higher on news it may set up a factory in India to resolve security concerns by New Delhi.

On Wednesday, the company and Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, which have been blocked from selling equipment in India, said they are considering setting up factories in India to allay New Delhi's security fears over their telecoms equipment.

Taiwan's Smartphone maker HTC Corp gained after it said it had asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban U.S. sales of iPhones, iPads and iPods in a patent dispute.

However, gains in Malaysia were more modest, with the KLCI up 0.2 percent. The country is awaiting first-quarter GDP data and Maybank's quarterly earnings due out after the bell.

Singapore's STI was rangebound, but ended up 0.2 percent.

SingTel shares lost 1.0 percent after Southeast Asia's biggest telco posted a forecast-beating fourth-quarter profit but warned of lower margins ahead.