Asia-Pacific Markets

Asian Shares Rally to 2009 Highs on Earnings Hopes

Asian stocks rallied to their highest levels this year on Monday, fueled by Wall Street's best week in four months and upbeat sentiment toward U.S. earnings in the second quarter.

The South Korean KOSPI leapt 2.7 percent to close at 1,478.51 points, near a 10-month high, with the country's leading tech names like Hynix Semiconductor surging 7 percent.  Hyundai Motor and auto stocks also advanced on upward momentum fueled by earnings optimism.

Samsung Electronics gained 3 percent after the world's largest memory chipmaker said it would pump $4.3 billion in green R&D and facilitiesto turn it into a leading eco-friendly company by 2013. Green Cross also rose on hopes the country's sole vaccine producer will get more orders from the government, following a local media report that a government agency failed to secure vaccines for the H1N1 flu virus from global pharmaceutical firms due to a pricing gap.

Australian shares charged up for the fifth straight session to end at a 6-week closing high. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.2 percent, led by mining stocks after copper prices climbed to a five-week high on Friday and a softer U.S. dollar on Monday. BHP Billiton ended 2.3 percent higher while Rio Tinto climbed 1.8 percent.

Healthcare stocks like Ramsay Healthcare came under pressure in Australia as investors shunned defensives in a more positive trading climate.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index bounced up 3.7 percent to to 19,502 points, buoyed by Chinese insurers and property counters. Shares of property conglomerate Wharf Holdings and Swire Pacific climbed after Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the stocks. Property counters rose amid further signs of a rebound in the local residential property segment and home prices. Cheung Kong and Sun Hung Kai Properties both soared over 5 percent at the close.

CITIC Pacific was also in focus, after China Investment Corp (CIC), China's sovereign wealth fund, agreed to buy a 40 percent stake in its investment unitCITIC Capital Holdings.

China's Shanghai Composite jumped 2.4 percent to a 13-month closing while turnover surged to its highest in nearly 26 months, with metal and coal shares strong after data last week reinforced investor faith in a strong third-quarter outlook for the Chinese economy.

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Singapore's STI rose 1 percent. Big property companies like CapitaLand made solid gains. Wilmar International rose as much as 1 percent on news the agribusiness firm planned to raise about $4 billion through the initial public offer of its China subsidiary in Hong Kong.

Malaysia's KLCI rose 1.6 percent, with banks and palm oil producers lending support to the index.

Japanese markets are closed Monday for a national holiday.