Most Asian markets advanced on Tuesday, shrugging off another rise in Japanese unemployment as oil powered above $73 a barrel to eight-month highs, boosting resource stocks. Overnight gains on Wall Street underpinned sentiment, helping the region's markets to extend a massive rally that began in March on hopes the worst of the global recession has passed. Investors were unfazed by unemployment in Japan, the world's second-largest economy, rising to a 5 1/2-year high of 5.2 percent in May.
"The surging unemployment doesn't seem to have much impact on investors. The markets are following the overnight rise on Wall Street. In the U.S. it seems that investors are still optimistic," said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong. But he cautioned that Asian markets will find it difficult to continue rallying if a turn for the worse in US economic data unsettles Wall Street.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 stock average rose 174.97 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 9,958.44, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 138.79, or 0.8 per cent, to 18,667.30. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.1 percent at 1,390.07.
Elsewhere, Australia's benchmark rose 1.8 percent and Singapore's market gained 0.8 percent.
Oil's rise above $73 a barrel boosted commodity stocks with global miner Rio Tinto jumping 3.7 percent in Sydney and China's largest oil refiner Sinopec advancing 3 percent in Hong Kong. The rise in crude also lifted Wall Street on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 90.99, or 1.1 percent, to 8,529.38. The S&P 500 index rose 8.33, or 0.9 percent, to 927.23, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 5.84, or 0.3 percent, to 1,844.06. U.S. stock index futures were up marginally. Dow futures were up 3 points to 8,461, while S&P futures were up 0.5 points to 921.7. In Asia, benchmark crude for August delivery was up $1.56 to $73.05 a barrel by early afternoon Singapore time after trading as high as $73.38. On Monday, it gained $2.33 to settle at $71.49. The dollar fell to 95.70 yen from 96.10 and the euro gained to $1.4138 from $1.4078.