BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets rose modestly Tuesday as a respite from major bad news gave investors the pluck to get back into riskier assets.
Traders brushed aside disappointing U.S. factory orders as falling bond yields for Spain and Italy boosted confidence that Europe can avoid a messy breakup of its currency union.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to 8,366.58. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 18,310.47 and South Korea's Kospi gained 1.1 percent to 1,802.80.
Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia also rose. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.3 percent to 4,033.80. Benchmarks in mainland China, Thailand and New Zealand fell.
Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray, said short covering — the purchase of securities by a short seller to return those that they borrowed from a broker and sold — could explain some of the gains in Hong Kong. Short selling is profitable if the price continues to fall because the securities can be bought back at a lower price.
"A lot of people were shorting the market yesterday," he said. "If you sold yesterday when the market was trading at 18,100 and it opened at 18,300, you are losing money. So a lot of people will go into the market to cover their shorts."
One positive sign, according to analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, was China's announcement of new subsidies for energy-saving white goods, which suggests "the government is rolling out more targeted measures to implement its stimulus program."
In individual stock trading, tech stocks across Asia clawed back gains. South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. jumped 4.4 percent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chip-maker, rose 2.1 percent.
Honda Motor Co. rose 1 percent. Japan's No. 2 vehicle maker broke ground Monday for a new automobile plant in Indonesia, Kyodo News Agency said.
But Qantas Airways plummeted 18.9 percent, hitting historic lows after the Australian flagship carrier forecast a drop of up to 91 percent in full year earnings.
Global markets plunged Monday amid fears of a recession after a disappointing report on U.S. hiring and employment in May.
American employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. Economists had forecast a gain of 158,000 jobs. The report is considered the most important economic indicator each month.
Adding to the evidence of a slowdown, new figures released Monday showed companies placed fewer orders to U.S. factories for the second straight month.
In Spain, investors are waiting for what the government intends to do to boost the finances of some of its ailing banks. The worry is that the government is already strapped for cash and might be overwhelmed by the costs of rescuing its own banks. It might have to tap European Union rescue funds, but it is reluctant to do so because such aid would come with conditions on the government's policies.
Meanwhile in Cyprus, the central bank governor said the country is struggling to find €1.8 billion to inject into its second-largest lender, Cyprus Popular Bank, by a June 30 deadline. That means it is increasingly likely to have to accept EU rescue funds. The chairman of Cyprus Popular Bank also suggested an EU loan now seemed more likely.
Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 85 cents to $84.81 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 75 cents to settle at $83.98 in New York on Monday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2523 from $1.2494 late Monday in New York. The dollar was nearly unchanged at 78.35 yen.