Asia markets edge higher on back of Dow gain

Tuesday - 3/12/2013, 12:32am EDT

FILE - In this Monday, March 4, 2013 file photo, rader Thomas Lyden works at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. A strong U.S. jobs report helped propel Asian stock markets higher on Monday March 11, 2013, but shares in Europe were weighed down by renewed worries about the region's struggling economies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

PAMELA SAMPSON
AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets edged up Tuesday, ignoring Europe's doldrums and taking cues from another sizzling day on Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei spurted upward yet again as the yen's recent softness against the dollar boded well for export-reliant companies. It was also boosted by expectations of action by the Bank of Japan to shore up the country's stalling economy once a new bank chief is installed. The index gained 0.4 percent to 12,391.84.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent to 23,227.69, even though the latest Chinese industrial production and retail sales figures stoked concerns that the country's economic recovery may have stalled. In addition, higher-than-expected inflation of 3.2 percent in February raised questions about the government's ability to do more to shore up the world's second-largest economy.

Australia's S&P/ASX fell 0.1 percent to 5,140.20, weighed down by losses in resource shares. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.2 percent to 1,999.16.

European stock markets fell Monday as investors waited to see if Italy can forge a government following inconclusive elections two weeks ago. A downgrade of the country's credit rating from Fitch on Friday also added to the prevailing caution.

"It's been a tepid start to the week after weekend Chinese economic data came in on the weaker side of expectations, while investors absorb the latest Italian downgrade, as well as a surprise dive in manufacturing and industrial output in the French economy," Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said in an email commentary.

The Dow Jones industrial average posted its seventh straight day of gains on Monday. The streak began March 1 and last Tuesday the blue chip index blew past its all-time high.

Boeing surged 2 percent after an executive reportedly said he's confident the aircraft maker has figured out a fix for the battery problems that have grounded the 787 Dreamliner.

The Dow rose 0.3 percent to 14,447. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.3 percent to close at 1,556. The Nasdaq added 0.3 percent to 3,252.87.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 13 cents to $92.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 11 cents to end at $92.06 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro slipped to $1.3035 from $1.3038 in New York on Monday. The dollar rose to 96.58 yen from 96.27 yen.

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