Asian shares break losing streak; BHP iron ore output rises

<p>Asian markets broke their recent losing streak and managed to post solid gains which were no doubt helped by positive overnight leads. The MSCI Asia […]</p>

Asian markets broke their recent losing streak and managed to post solid gains which were no doubt helped by positive overnight leads. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.9% at noon. in Tokyo. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.2%. 

Indian stocks also advanced. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 54.54 points, or 0.3%, to 18,708.41 in early Mumbai trading. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. added 0.2% to 5,626.10 and its July futures traded at 5,636.5. The BSE 200 Index increased 0.2% to 2,324.40.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 1%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rallied 1.6% and Taiwan’s Taiex index increased 1.3%. Trading was active in Sydney, with News Corp up 4.5%. Chairman Rupert Murdoch denied any knowledge of phone-hacking and payments to police at his News of the World tabloid during three hours of questioning by British lawmakers. 

Staying in Sydney, BHP Billiton rose 1.6% after the world’s largest mining company said fourth-quarter iron ore output rose 14%, driving an 11th-straight annual production record. James Hardie Industries – the largest seller of home siding in the U.S – surged 4.6%.  

In M&A news, CNOOC – China’s biggest offshore oil producer – agreed to acquire Opti Canada Inc. (OPC) for $2.1 billion in cash and debt to add Canadian oil sands assets. Chinese companies including China Petrochemical Corp. have bought Canadian energy assets as they search for new resources to meet demand in the world’s biggest energy consuming nation. Opti Canada’s main asset is its 35% stake in the Long Lake project operated by Nexen Inc. and the company has investments in three other project areas located in the Athabasca region of northeastern Alberta, according to the statement.

In energy markets, Oil futures gained as much as 0.9% after the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said supplies fell the most in six weeks.Crude for August delivery increased as much as 85 cents to US$98.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at US$98.33 at noon Sydney time. 

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