| Updated at: 1538 PST, Thursday, December 02, 2010|
HONG KONG: Asian markets soared Thursday on strong US jobs and manufacturing data and an upbeat assessment of the world's biggest economy, putting aside concerns over the eurozone.
The euro was also holding up against major currencies on speculation that the European Central Bank will unveil a set of credit-easing measures to help soften the impact of the sovereign debt crisis on the region.
Tokyo soared 1.81 percent, or 180.47 points, to end at 10,168.52 while Hong Kong closed up 0.86 percent, or 198.98 points, at 23,448.78.
Sydney posted its biggest one-day rise since September 1, adding 1.95 percent, or 99.6 points, to close at 4,676.2, while Shanghai rose 0.71 percent, or 20.16 points, to 2,843.61.
Seoul added 1.09 percent, or 20.94 points, to close at 1,950.26.
Markets, which have been overshadowed in the past week by concerns over the eurozone, welcomed positive data out of the United States that pointed to a brighter future for the economy.
Payrolls firm ADP said private sector employment rose by 93,000 in November, the fastest rate in three years and the 10th consecutive month of gains.
The news provided hope that the jobs sector may be on the mend.
A key survey by the Institute of Supply Management showing the US manufacturing sector expanded for a 16th consecutive month in November also helped sentiment. That added to rising optimism caused by strong manufacturing figures from across the globe Wednesday, including from China, India and South Korea.
And the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book report that it saw continued improvement in the economy.
"The economy continued to improve, on balance" through the reporting period from early October to mid-November, the central bank said after gathering information from its 12 districts.
On Wall Street the figures sent the Dow surging 2.27 percent, the S&P 500 2.16 percent higher and the tech-rich Nasdaq up 2.05 percent.
Masayoshi Yano, market analyst at Meiwa Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires: "The key issue is that the US economy... is looking likely to improve in the coming year."
Markets have been weighed by worries over European debt after Sunday's announcement of a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout deal for Ireland to shore up its banking sector and meet its debt obligations.
Instead of supporting markets the decision stoked concerns that other countries including Portugal, Italy and Spain could also go to the wall.
However, concerns were soothed Wednesday in Europe as Spain unveiled new measures to cut costs and revive its ailing economy while bond market pressures eased as yields on 10-year Portuguese and Spanish bonds softened.
The European Central Bank was expected to maintain its main lending rate at a record low level of 1.0 percent at a monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt later Thursday.
And Mizuho Corporate Bank market economist Daisuke Karakama said "there is speculation that the ECB may still take some credit-easing action".
There are expectations that the ECB "will go for monetary easing to help cushion the damage on the eurozone economy, when the region needs to cut back on fiscal spending and tolerate slower economic growth", he said.
The news gave some support to the euro, which fetched 1.3106 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade, down from 1.3138 dollars in New York late Wednesday but well up from the 1.2985 on Tuesday.
The euro edged down to 110.18 yen from 110.59 yen as Japanese exporters sold the common currency after its sharp rise overnight. On Wednesday, the euro had traded in the 108-yen range in Tokyo Wednesday.
The dollar was trading at 84.10 yen compared with 84.19 yen in New York, thanks to the encouraging US economic data.
The stronger greenback weighed on crude prices but a cold snap across Europe and positive economic news from key regions supported prices.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, shed seven cents to 86.68 dollars per barrel in the afternoon while Brent North Sea crude for January dipped 18 cents to 88.69 dollars.
Gold closed at 1,392.50-1,393.50 dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Wednesday's close of 1,392.00-1,393.00 dollars.