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Markets gain as exporters lead

Written by: Staff

HONG KONG, Oct 24 (Reuters) Asian stocks rose on Tuesday as investors bought exporters such as Japan's Canon Inc. on the back of a stronger dollar and following a rally on Wall Street that pushed the Dow to yet another record closing high.

But energy stocks including Australia's Santos eased as oil wallowed below a barrel. Doubts that all OPEC members would follow Saudi Arabia's lead to curb output under an agreement reached last week weighed on crude prices.

U.S. crude fell 20 cents to .61, extending Monday's fall.

At 0030 GMT, Tokyo's had climbed 0.45 percent to new five-month highs as major exporters such as Canon and Honda Motor both gained about 1 percent.

''There are strong expectations that companies will beat their earnings forecasts. In addition, the weaker yen will help shares of exporters,'' said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity marketing at Nikko Cordial Securities.

The dollar firmed on Monday as many investors bet the Federal Reserve will repeat its concern about rising U.S.

inflationary pressures when it announces its interest rate decision on Wednesday.

Softbank, the smallest of Japan's three cellphone operators, jumped 2.42 percent a day after it said it would offer cheaper fees and was willing to cut prices further to compete.

Chip-related stocks such as Advantest Corp. also rose as investors shrugged off Texas Instruments' disappointing revenue outlook for the fourth quarter.

In South Korea, gains of about 0.6 percent for both market heavyweight Samsung Electronics and top automaker Hyundai Motor helped drive the benchmark KOSPI up 0.37 percent.

Australia's key S&P/ASX 200 index put on 0.35 percent, thanks to strength in some of the big local banks such as National Australia Bank BHP Billiton lagged the wider market, edging up just 0.14 percent after the world's biggest miner said its copper production in the three months to September fell 19 percent from a year ago, due in large part to a month-long strike at its Escondida mine in Chile.

But banking and insurance group Suncorp Metway fell 3.5 percent a day after Promina Group Ltd. agreed to its A.6 billion (.8 billion) takeover offer. Promina lost 2.46 percent.

U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, sending the Dow up 0.95 percent to a new record closing high and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.57 percent.


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