Qantas shares fly high; Asian shares slightly up on the back of Wall Street

<p>Asian markets were up slightly today with the Nikkei up 0.3% and the Hang Seng flat. Japanese stocks rose as a higher forecast for economic […]</p>

Asian markets were up slightly today with the Nikkei up 0.3% and the Hang Seng flat.

Japanese stocks rose as a higher forecast for economic growth from the US Federal Reserve, improving U.S earnings and takeovers bolstered confidence in an economic recovery.

Honda Motor Corp, Japan’s second largest carmaker, climbed 1.3%. Shares of Nomura Holdings, Japan’s largest brokerage house advanced 0.8%.

In Hong Kong, stock fluctuated as developers fell after new home loans in January declined and China Central Television reported Beijing will limit home purchases. China Resources Land Ltd, a state-controlled developer, sank 2.8%. HSBC Holdings gained 1.4% after the Federal Reserve raised its forecast for U.S economic growth.

In Australia, the strong performance by miners in early morning trade was offset by softness amongst bank shares. The national flag carrier Qantas reported a 46 per cent jump in profit on the back of its discount airline operation Jetstar.

Investors are buying into Qantas and this (price) jump may push the share price towards its high of about $2.97, which was hit last November 2010.

Most of the banks were trading lower today and this neutralised the earlier strength among resources stocks this morning. There’s definitely some profit taking going on, particularly with the banks and finance stocks which have been having a good run lately.

There are still a few big companies to report this week and this should keep the market pretty active in the next few days.

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