Asia Stocks Hit Highs on Solid US Earnings

Asia's stock markets saw a return of risk appetite on Wednesday as major regional indices rose to fresh highs, boosted by a 1 percent rally on Wall Street.

The Nikkei outperformed to cross the 13,800 mark at a near five-year high, Seoul's benchmark rose to its highest levels in four sessions and the S&P ASX 200 closed at a one-month high.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite recovered 1.5 percent after sinking as much as 2 percent in the previous session.

Robust corporate earnings in the U.S lifted sentiment in Asia after Du Pont, United Technologies, and Netflix all reported results that beat estimates, which helped offset pessimism over dismal global manufacturing data.

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CNBC 100

Nikkei Up 2.3%

Japan's benchmark index closed within sight of the 14,000-mark, a level not seen since June 2008 as the yen teetered at the 99 handle per dollar for a third straight session, which lifted exporter stocks as earnings season starts.

Mitsubishi Motors surged 20 percent after the automaker estimated its net profit for the past fiscal year at triple its original forecast.

Chemical-related stocks enjoyed a strong rally with Tosoh and Sumitomo Chemicals jumping 10 percent after the former raised earnings estimates for the fiscal year.

(Read More: OECD Sounds Fresh Warning on Japan)

Financials Lift Greater China

Insurers in Hong Kong and Shanghai rallied on news that Beijing may allow life insurers to pay higher returns on policies, a move which could make insurance products more attractive to investors.

China Life Insurance rose 1.7 percent in Hong Kong while mainland-listed shares of New China Life Insurance added nearly 3.3 percent.

The Hang Seng Index hit a one-and-a-half-week high at 22,180 points earlier in the session but has since pared gains.

Kospi Crosses 1,930

Earnings momentum in the tech sector helped lift Seoul's benchmark index to its highest level in over a week.

Shares of SK Hynix closed up 0.9 percent after rallying as much as 2 percent as the chip-maker reported first quarter operating profit that beat expectations.

Still, negative sentiment capped larger gains as the yen continued its slump. A depreciating Japanese currency hurts the overall profitability of Korean exporters.

Sydney Hits Highs

Australia stocks rallied 1.7 percent to extend the previous day's 1 percent gain, as investors cheered lower-than-expected consumer prices for the first quarter.

The weak figure raised hopes of an interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). "It (inflation data) should see the RBA act on its easing bias, and cut interest rates another 0.25%, hopefully at its May Board meeting," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital in a note.

Resources led the rally with thermal coal developer Coalspur Mines surging 15 percent while each of Australia's Big 4 banks soared over 2 percent on hopes of more monetary easing.