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Asian Stocks Track Wall Street's Gains

Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, tracking U.S. shares which gained on optimistic remarks from influential investor Warren Buffett, while Chinese manufacturing growth slowed to a six-month low.

Chinese manufacturing growth slowed in February, according to an official survey, as the government's sustained campaign to tame inflation weighed on industrial activity.

The overall PMI, which is designed to provide a snapshot of conditions in the manufacturing sector, fell to 52.2 in February from 52.9 in January, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said.

Japan's clawed back towards 10-month highs as foreign investors piled into Japanese stocks on a lower inflation risk, with more hard-won gains seen ahead in the midterm.

Despite uncertainty about higher oil prices and developments in the Middle East, foreign investors may chase the Nikkei higher, although gains will likely be limited due to year-end window-dressing by domestic institutional investors, market players said.

The benchmark Nikkei rose 1.2 percent to end at 10,754.03. The broader Topix advanced 1.3 percent to 963.70.

Australian stocks finished lower for a second straight days the banks ended weaker and miners gave up some of their gains with Middle East unrest deterring investors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.1 percent lower.

Shanghai shares ended 0.5 percent higher as investors pulled money out of physical real estate and shifted funds to equities.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 2,918.9 points. Chinese shares rose on decent volume suggesting further strength ahead, while markets in Hong Kong struggled to hold gains under pressure from a near 5 percent slide in heavyweight HSBC.

Shares in Hong Kong closed up 0.3 percent.

A tepid earnings report from banking giant HSBC Holdings hit its shares which had seen heavy buying interest in the run-up to the results, sending them as much as 5.1 percent lower to a one-month low.

The broader market managed to hold on to gains. Property developers rose after industry bellwether Sun Hung Kai Properties, Asia's biggest developer by market value, reported a 60 percent surge in first-half profit.

Rival Cheung Kong Holdings, controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing and said to be planning Hong Kong's first yuan-denominated share offering, was up 4 percent.

Also higher were shares of China Mobile, the telecom giant which has underperformed its rivals China Unicom and China Telecom this year.

China Mobile rose 2.3 percent on the day and was the biggest boost to the broader market. This year its shares are down 3.5 percent compared with a 20.3 percent gain for Unicom and a 12.5 percent advance for China Telecom.

Singapore shares rose, boosted by gains in U.S. shares and on a rally in commodity stocks such as Noble Group which posted strong 2010 earnings.

The Straits Times Index closed up 1.9 percent.

Shares of Singapore-listed commodities firm Noble Group rose as much as 6.8 percent after it said its fourth-quarter net profit rose 192 percent year-on-year to $247.4 million.

Shares of palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources rose as much as 8.5 percent after it reported strong fourth quarter earnings and its CEO said demand for palm oil is expected to be robust.

South Korean markets were closed for Independence Movement Day.

The FTSE CNBC 100 Index climbed 0.8 percent.