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Asian Markets Gain

Rouhan Sharma

Asian markets were mostly up Wednesday, tracking a higher closing on Wall Street overnight after data showed U.S. consumer confidence climbed to a six-year high.

The Nikkei traded flat. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1% lower while the Hang Seng gained 1%. The Sensex was up 0.3% while the All Ordinaries added 0.7%.

Banking shares gained in Hong Kong on hopes for the issue of preferred shares.

In India, the Sensex hit a fresh all-time high in the morning session.

Stocks on the Move

Honda Motor bucked the trend among auto stocks in Tokyo as its shares reversed 0.4% on a Sky News report the company is eliminating one of its three daily shifts at a British plant due to poor sales. About 300 jobs are set to be affected.

Construction firm Kajima Corp. was up almost 3% after a broker upgrade.

Agricultural Bank of China rallied 3.8% in Hong Kong after the bank’s vice president said during the annual results meet Tuesday it plans to sell preferred shares as soon as the regulator issues the new rules.

Other banks also traded higher with China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank up 2.3% each. Their mainland listed shares were also modestly higher.

BAIOO Family Interactive is set to raise funds up to $237 million in an initial public offering that could be the biggest Chinese internet firm listing in Hong Kong since 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Internet major Tencent Holdings edged 0.2% lower while Boyaa Interactive fell over 6%.

Everbright Securities edged 0.3% lower after it reported a 79% fall in 2013 net profit, slightly lower than the preliminary results published ibn January. The company said the fall was due to investment losses from a trading glitch and regulatory fines.

Also after results, shares of China Mengniu Diary rose almost 10% after the country’s biggest diary producer said 2013 net profit increased 25%.

Other diary stocks also gained on the news.

Hindalco led gains on the Sensex, up 3%, followed by Tata Motors, and Coal India, up 2.4% and 2.1% each, respectively.

SSLT was up 2% while Maruti Suzuki, Gail india, BHEL, Tata Steel, Tata Power, L&T, and Wipro all gained in a range between 1% and 1.9%.

Resources stocks rose in Sydney tracking gains in commodity prices overnight.

Index leader BHP Billiton was up 1.8% while Fortescue Metals added 3.1%. OZ Minerals and Atlas Iron advanced 3.1% and 3.7% each, respectively. Rio Tinto gained 2.1%.

Banks were also higher ahead of a speech by Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens in Hong Kong.

Sigma Pharma advanced 3.3% after the company said it has signed a deal to purchase Central Healthcare for A$24.5 million.

Retailer Wesfarmers was down 0.4% while Insurance Australia Group added 1.1% after the companies said regulators have approved the latter’s purchase of Wesfarmers's insurance-underwriting business.