Stocks rise amid optimism in US
Asian stock markets have risen after the fourth-quarter earnings season got off to a positive start in the US with aluminium giant Alcoa forecasting higher demand for 2013.
Demand for aluminium has been hurt by the weak global economy, but Alcoa predicted a 7% increase in demand this year, slightly better than the 6% increase in 2012.
Because Alcoa makes aluminium for so many key industries, investors study its results for clues about the health and direction of the overall economy.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.3% to 23,188.77 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4% to 4,709.50. South Korea's Kopsi was marginally higher at 1,998.84.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index opened lower on a strengthening yen but reversed course as the currency slipped against the dollar. The benchmark in Tokyo gained 0.5% to 10,559.24.