Asia markets gain ground after Wall Street advance

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HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets gained more ground Tuesday, following Wall Street’s advance as an upbeat U.S. manufacturing report buoyed investor confidence in the world’s largest economy.

Most major markets were higher, while the dollar fell against the yen and the euro. Crude oil prices closed in on $82 a barrel.

Lifting sentiment across the region was an overnight rise in U.S. markets. Wall Street opened 2010 with strong gains amid optimism about the country’s economic recovery after a report showed demand at American factories was increasing. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity rose to 55.9 from 53.6 in November, a bigger improvement than analysts predicted.

The news boosted exporters across Asia, combining with stronger commodity prices in recent days to fuel hopes the pickup in global demand and economic activity was sustainable.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 stock average added 101.63 points, or 1 percent, to 10,756.42, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 334.76, or 1.5 percent, to 22,157.96.

Elsewhere, Shanghai’s main stock measure climbed 0.5 percent to 3,258.72 after tumbling the day before. Australia’s market was up 1 percent and Singapore’s index gained 0.8 percent.

In South Korea, the Kospi was little changed at 1,694.89.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow industrials rose 155.91, or 1.5 percent, to 10,583.96.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 17.89, or 1.6 percent, to 1,132.99, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 39.27, or 1.7 percent, to 2,308.42.

Oil prices extended their gains, with benchmark crude for February delivery up 31 cents at $81.82 a barrel. The contract jumped $2.15 overnight.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to 92.17 yen from 92.42 yen. The euro rose to $1.4420 from $1.4407.