Asian airline stocks take flight, mining and building stocks soar

Shares in Asia climbed higher Tuesday. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index gained 1.3% to close at 22,113 and in China the Shanghai Composite Index rose1.3% to 3,235. In Japan, the Nikkei Index gained 2.4%, ending the day at 9,572.

In Hong Kong the airline sector surged. Air China (AIRYY) soared 9.8% having purchased a large stake in Cathay Pacific Airways and now hinting at a takeover of Shenzhen Airlines. China Southern Airlines (ZNH) also surged, adding 7.3% on the news that Goldman Sachs raised its estimate of the airline's share price. Cathay Pacific (CPCAY) rose 3.2% in today's trading. Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines (CEA) climbed 5.9% after gaining approal to takeover Shanghai Airlines.
Mining stocks also performed well with Hong Kong-listed shares of Zijin Mining (ZIJMF) spiking 6.5%. The Chinese mining giant is reported to have made an offer to buy Australian-owned Indophil, which controls a stake in the promising Tampakan mine. Tampakan is located on the mostly muslim island of Mindanao, which is home to several guerrilla groups and has seen incredible violence between opposing political and religious factions, including Islamic militant groups. Moving workers in to manage the site will be a challenge, but the mine could yield masses of copper and gold.

SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings (STTFF) gained 5.1% after announcing that it will begin offering the iPhone 3G and 3GS in Hong Kong, having sealed a deal with Apple. SmarTone will become one of two carriers selling the popular handset in the territory within the next few months, but is keeping pricing details quiet.

In China confidence in continuing development and government expenditure on building and infrastructure sent shares in metals companies and construction products surging. Baoshan Iron & Steel soared 7.8% and Angang Steel (ANGGY) added 3.8%. Cement company Anuhi Conch (AHCHF) increased 5.7% and Tangshan Jidong Cement rose 6.2%. Chinese-listed shares in Zijin (ZIJMF) also spiked 7.2%.

As consumer confidence continued to follow the Chinese stock markets' upward trend, shares in Nanning Department store rose with it, ending the day 6% higher; Yinchuan Xinhua Department store closed up 4.9%.

In Japan, carmakers advanced, helped along by a drop in the yen, increasing the value of overseas sales. Honda (HMC) climbed 3.9%, Mazda Motor (MZDAF) gained 5.4% and Toyota (TM) added 2.3%.

Hints that the Bank of Japan may take steps to limit the yen's rise and stimulate lending bolstered investors' confidence in the banking sector. Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) rose 3.1%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFJY) added 1.6% and Mizuho Financial Group (MFG) advanced 1.9%.

Perhaps today's all-around gains foreshadow a better month for the Nikkei, which lost as much as 6.9% in November.
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