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Asian Stocks End Higher After US Rally

Asian stocks charged ahead on Friday, led by Tokyo, tracking Wall Street's rally overnight which saw all three major indices gaining nearly 3 percent.

Japan's Nikkei average climbed 1.7 percent, moving closer towards a key resistance level, on signs of health in the euro debt market and a halt in the yen's advance against the euro.

Financial stocks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial rose after Japan's Banking Minister Shizuka Kamei, an advocate of financial regulation, said he would step down to protest that a controversial postal bill would not be passed in the current session of parliament.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial climbed 1.4 percent and Mizuho Financial gained 0.6 percent.

The benchmark Nikkei gained 162.60 points to 9,705.25 after earlier rising more than 2 percent. The broader Topix gained 1.1 percent to 866.44.

Japan's stocks rose 2 percent, helped by a halt in the yen's advance against the euro and after signs of health in the euro debt market boosted U.S. stocks by about 3 percent.

Shares of Toshiba surged 2.2 percent to 460 yen, boosted by a newspaper report that the company and Fujitsu are in final stages of negotiations toward integrating their cellular phone businesses. Fujitsu was up 0.9 percent.

Foreign Buying Lifts Seoul Stocks

Seoul shares advanced as positive economic data fueled optimism that the world economic
recovery was on track, sending tech issues such as Samsung Electronics higher.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index(KOSPI) finished up 1.43 percent at 1,675.34 points.

Technology issues led gains, boosted by a rise in the key U.S. semiconductor index.

Shares in Samsung Electronics, the world's No.1 memory chip maker, advanced 3.1 percent and LG Display rose 2.1 percent.

Banks also bounced. Shares in Woori Finance Holdings, which fell sharply in the previous session due to a reported financial scandal involving its unit, rebounded 0.6 percent.

KB Financial Group, the holding firm of Kookmin Bank, the country's top lender, gained 1.7 percent.

Continued strength in crude oil prices continued to lift refiners, poised to gain for a third session. SK Energy, the country's top refiner, advanced 1.88 percent and S-Oil climbed 1.79 percent.

Australia Up on Global Recovery Hopes

Australian shares closed 1.6 percent higher, after hopes of a compromise deal on a planned mining tax buoyed resource stocks and economic data rekindled optimism about global growth.

Traders said stronger-than-expected Chinese export data had lifted appetite for riskier investments such as stocks, while a surge in Australian employment on Thursday reinforced solid domestic fundamentals.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 70.2 points to 4,505.5, and gained 1.3 percent for the week.

Australian markets will be closed on Monday for the Queen's Birthday public holiday.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 1.3 percent to close at 3,041.3.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining group, gained 2.5 percent while Rio Tinto
rose 1.8 percent.

Murchison Metals jumped 8 percent to A$1.955 after reporting its Crosslands joint venture had secured letters of intent from North Asian steel mills to buy more than 50 million tonnes of iron products annually from the Jack Hills project.

Goodman Group said it was forming a joint venture investment vehicle with CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust in the UK and Europe, worth up to A$1.3 billion. CBRE will hold 80 percent of the venture and Goodman 20 percent and as part of the deal, the venture would acquire two Goodman assets in the UK and three in Germany. The shares were up 0.7 percent to A$0.660.

Australian markets will be closed on Monday for the Queen's Birthday public holiday.

Greater China Markets Strengthen

Hong Kong shares climb over 1.3 percent, as a rally in Asian markets boosted investor confidence and bargain-hunting drove up property and energy counters.

Defensive sectors such as utilities and telecommunications, which had outperformed the broader market in recent weeks, lagged as some profit-booking was seen.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index chalked up 162.6 points at 19,872.38, nearing the psychologically important 20,000-point level after almost breaking through at the open.

The China Enterprises Index of locally listed mainland China companies was also up. The benchmark index is set to post its seventh straight weekly decline and is down 11 percent since mid-April, when the Chinese government announced measures to cool mainland property prices.

Losses were further exacerbated through May as fears of slowing economic growth in China surfaced and as a deepening euro zone debt crisis sent financial markets across the world lower, leading to a broad selloff of risky assets.

The key Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.3 percent, with large-cap shares outperforming and as confidence grew that the market was establishing a floor after recent declines.

Analysts saw little negative impact from a rise in China's consumer inflation in May to a 19-month high of 3.1 percent from the previous month's 2.8 percent, noting that the figures did not stir increased expectations of policy tightening.

Almost all 14 banks listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets rose and were among Friday's most active trades.

Agricultural Bank of China was close to signing up cornerstone investors for the Hong Kong portion of its planned $20 billion-plus Hong Kong and Shanghai initial public offering, sources involved with the deal said late on Thursday.

Taiwan stocks advanced 1.6 percent, tracking gains on Wall Street and regional bourses.

TSMC and Acer led tech shares higher on brisk growth in May sales. TSMC, the world's top contract chip maker, jumped and PC vendor Acer also shot up.

The main TAIEX index rose 117.7 points higher at 7,299.49, extending a 1.56 percent gain in previous session.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore's Straits Times Index chalked up 0.6 percent, drawing support from gains in financials such as DBS, and CapitaLand and other property issues.

The Malaysia's benchmark KLCI also headed north , in line with the region's performance.