| GEO Business|
| Asian stocks rise sharply on recovery signs|
| Updated at: 1748 PST, Tuesday, May 19, 2009|
HONG KONG: Asian stock markets jumped Tuesday as investors welcomed better-than-expected news about U.S. housing and banks as another sign the world economy was headed for recovery.
Tokyo and Hong Hong indexes added 3 percent in one of the region's strongest performances in days. Financials helped lead the way after American banks lifted Wall Street overnight, while oil companies were higher on the back of stronger crude prices.
Investor's appetite for risk returned as they latched onto some reassuring signals from the two U.S. industries at the heart of the economic crisis: housing and financials.
Lowe's home improvement chain posted upbeat results, homebuilder confidence rose and analysts issued rosy comments about banks, suggesting a recession in the world's largest economy was easing.
The news also lent more support to the market narrative about economic recovery that has helped drive massive amounts of hot money into equities in recent weeks, said Andrew Orchard, Asia strategist for Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 266.96 points, or 3percent, to 9,305.65, with some investors cautious ahead of therelease of gross domestic product data on Wednesday. Hong Kong'sHang Seng climbed 515.78, or 3 percent, to 17,538.69. South Korea'sKospi was up 2.9 percent at 1,427.31.
In India, where stocks surged 17 percent the day before after the results of national elections, the Sensex added another 1 percent to14,417.87.
The Shanghai index gained 0.7 percent, Australia's stockmeasure was 2.2 percent higher and Taiwan's market rose 1.2 percent.