Most of the Asian markets rose Wednesday as investor confidence continued to be lifted by hopes that the European Central Bank will take actions to reduce the debt pressure faced by Spain and Italy.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.63 percent or 143.34 points to 8946.65. Among major gainers were Sumco Corp (8.72 percent), Sharp Corp (7.65 percent) and OKUMA Corp (6.47 percent).
The Chinese Shanghai Composite marginally rose 0.05 percent or 1.03 points to 2158.65. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was marginally down 0.07 percent or 15.02 points to 20057.53. Among major gainers were PetroChina Co Ltd (1.66 percent) and CNOOC Ltd (1.01 percent).
South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index rose 1.53 percent or 28.92 points to 1915.72. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd climbed 2.40 percent and those of Hyundai Motor Co rose 0.21 percent.
India's BSE Sensex was up 0.17 percent or 30.62 points to 17632.40. Major gainers were Wipro Ltd (1.73 percent), DLF Ltd (0.74 percent) and Infosys (0.55 percent).
The main focus continued to be the euro zone as the sharp fall in Italy's gross domestic product in the second quarter highlighted the huge economic and fiscal problems that the country faces. Although the pressure from the markets has recently eased, investors still sense that it is only a matter of time before Italy is forced to seek a sovereign bailout.
Italy's GDP estimate revealed that the economy contracted by 0.7 percent in second quarter, broadly in line with both the consensus forecast and the previous two quarters' falls. Italy is the third major euro zone economy to publish a GDP estimate for second quarter. The other two economies, Spain and Belgium, also recorded pretty large falls of 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. These three economies account for almost a third of euro zone GDP and their flash estimates for second quarter support the view that the euro zone contracted pretty sharply last quarter.
Market players feel that public debt looks set to climb significantly higher in Spain and Italy and they will need bond purchases from the bailout funds and the ECB to get it out of trouble. So investors are hoping for bold measures from the central bank which will revitalize the European financial system and alleviate the debt burden faced by the countries.
To contact the editor, e-mail: