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Market Update

Most Asian Markets Bounce Back

Asian markets were trading mostly higher Thursday, bouncing back from yesterday's steep declines, on heels of gains on Wall Street.

At 12:50 p.m. Tokyo time, the Nikkei was up 0.3% amid choppy trades, the Hang Seng added 0.4% while the Sensex gained 0.6%.

China's Shanghai Composite and Australia's S&P/ASX All Ordinaries, however, lagged behind, down 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

Asian markets climbed at open, taking cues from Wall Street, where stocks ended in the positive terrain on Wednesday after disappointing housing data and ongoing Syrian conflict caused investors to believe the Federal Reserve would postpone its plans to taper monetary stimulus measures.

In commodities, both oil futures and gold moved off highs as the safe-haven dollar gained ground against some of its major counterparts even as the U.S. and its allies continued to mull options of military action against the Syrian government.

The Indian rupee, meanwhile, also reversed its slide, opening sharply higher against the dollar after the central bank said would provide dollars directly to state oil companies through a separate window in a bid to bail out the sinking currency. The rupee had crashed to a fresh record low of 68.85 yesterday.

Stocks on the Move

Most oil firms in the region were trading with smart gains as the recent uptick in crude prices prompted investors to stack more of these stocks.

In Tokyo, Inpex Corp. soared over 5% and Japan Petroleum rose 4.7%. Hong Kong listed PetroChina was up a modest 2% while CNOOC edged up 0.5%.

In Mumbai, ONGC traded up 1.7% while Indian Oil Corp. and Oil India gained around 1.5% each.

Australian oil and gas explorer Beach Energy enhanced over 4% while Drillsearch Energy vaulted 5.6%.

But Tokyo-listed power utilities slumped on higher crude oil prices. Kansai Electric Power plunged 5.7% while Tokyo Electric Power dropped 5.5%.

Also on the downside, Panasonic Corp. lost around 2.5% after the electronics manufacturer said it would exit the consumer smartphone market.

On the other side, Kyocera Corp. jumped 2.7% after announcing plans to conduct a 2-for-1 stock split as the company seeks to attract a broader range of investors.

Among other stocks in news, Qantas Airways soared 11.4% amid reports that Northrop Grumman Corp. would buy the defense unit of the Australian flag carrier.

Meanwhile, engineering and construction services provider Clough Ltd. edged up 0.5% after South Africa's Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd. won support of the company's independent directors for a buyout offer.

On the earnigns front, Westfield Group reported a 36% drop in first half net profit. Shares of the Australian owner of shopping malls lost 1.3%.