HONG KONG – Most Asian markets rose Tuesday, following Wall Street higher after the chairman of the U.S. central bank signaled support for more government aid to revive the country's slumping economy.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 300.66 points, or 3.34 percent, to close at 9,306.25, marking the third consecutive day of gains.
While shares in most other countries moved higher, several key stock measures sold off early gains to close in the red. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.84 percent, Shanghai's benchmark fell 0.8 percent and South Korea's index shed about 1 percent.
As trading opened in Europe, benchmarks in Britain, Germany and France were higher.
Market sentiment was helped by an overnight surge on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average rose 413.21, or 4.67 percent, to 9,265.43 as investors took heart from further slackening in bank-to-bank lending rates in light of government moves to boost liquidity.
Momentum was also building in the U.S. for another stimulus package after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that additional steps might help ease the country's economic weakness. He also warned there was "some risk of a protracted slowdown."
While the Fed chairman gave no details, the White House said it was open to ideas that the U.S. Congress might put forth.
Adding to the sense of optimism were fresh measures to bolster Asian economies on Monday: India's central bank unexpectedly cut the nation's key lending rate by one percentage point and China's government said it was moving to spur lending and stabilize the country's volatile financial markets.
"In all we're in a better place and conditions are better than two weeks ago," said Khiem Do, a Hong Kong-based fund manager who helps oversee about $8 billion of Asian equities at Baring Asset Management.
"The measures have pacified investor panic as far as the banking system is concerned. You have monetary easing in a number of countries. And you have a market that was oversold and started to offer very attractive valuations."
In Australia, the main index gained 3.9 percent after the country's central bank chief said he believed coordinated global action to tackle the financial crisis had helped to avert a worldwide catastrophe. Resource giant Rio Tinto helped lead the way, soaring more than 12 percent.
A number of exporters climbed amid hopes of new measures to heal the U.S. economy. In Japan, top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. jumped 5 and Nissan Motor Co. rose 4.2 percent.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark was dragged down after conglomerate Citic Pacific Ltd. warned that could faces losses of nearly $2 billion after a top executive made unauthorized bets against the U.S. dollar.
Shares in Citic Pacific , the Hong Kong arm of the Chinese government's main investment company, plunged more than 50 percent.
In oil, crude prices dipped 26 cents to $73.99 a barrel Tuesday in Asia after despite expectations that OPEC would try to halt a three-month slide in prices by cutting production quotas at least 1 million barrels a day. The contract gained overnight $2.40 to settle at $74.25.
The greenback fell against the yen to 101.15. The euro weakened to 1.3222
In Hong Kong, the interbank offered rate for three-month loans continued to slide, falling from 3.66 percent to 3.35 as credit markets loosened up around the world.
Overnight in London, the interbank lending rate for three-month dollar loans fell for the sixth day running Monday and by its biggest daily amount since January.