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Asian Shares Rise, Shanghai Market Recovers

03/04/2013 | 08:55pm US/Eastern
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Asian markets were higher Tuesday, as stocks across the region recovered from the sharp sell-off in the previous session brought about by fresh tightening measures for the property market in China.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1% after suffering its worst day of trading on Monday since August 2011. The market plunged after Beijing introduced fresh measures to control the mainland property market, sending property developers into a freefall.

Stocks were also recovering in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index added 0.3%.

Chinese developers were still taking losses however, but at a much slower rate than on Monday. In Shenzhen, China's largest property developer China Vanke was down 1.7% and in Shanghai, Poly Real Estate Group fell 2.6%. In Hong Kong, China Resources Land lost 3.4%, while China Overseas Land & Development fell 1.4%.

The focus in Hong Kong was the Hang Seng's single largest constituent, HSBC Holdings, which fell 0.3% after releasing its latest set of results. The bank's 2012 fiscal net profit declined 17% on-year to $13.45 billion and its pre-tax profit fell 6%, both missing expectations.

Also in Hong Kong, Hang Seng Bank added 1.2% after the lender announced that its 2012 net profit increased 15% on-year to HK$19.43 billion, beating analysts' expectations.

Australian stocks made a comeback Tuesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.3%, as local sentiment was helped by stronger-than-expected retail sales data, as well as encouraging current account data for the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to keep rates on hold at 3%. The result of the central bank's policy meeting was widely expected, with Governor Glenn Stevens pointing towards a modest improvement in the nonmining parts of Australia's economy, as well as an improving situation in Europe and China.

The positive data and steady rates helped give some support to the local currency, with the Australian dollar rising to $1.0238.

Banks and retailers performed well in Sydney, while major miners were underperforming, suggesting residual caution over the outlook in China: Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.4%, retailer Woolworths gained 2.9%, and BHP Billiton was down 0.4%.

In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.5%, despite some firmness in the yen -- the dollar was at Y93.13 compared with Y93.47 late Monday in New York.

Japanese stocks were helped by a strong performance by index heavyweight Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of stores. The company jumped 6% after reporting that its same-store sales rose 9.6% on-year in February.

South Korea's Kospi Composite rose 0.4%.

Write to Daniel Inman at daniel.inman@wsj.com

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