Asian stock markets climb, take cues from Wall Street rally and higher metal prices

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets kicked off a new week of trading in good spirits, encouraged by an improvement in U.S. economic indicators and higher metal prices.

An increase in U.S. corporate spending and a big jump in orders for manufactured goods, both reported Friday, boosted Wall Street and allowed investors to shake off several days of doldrums.

But gold was trading near a record high after briefly touching $1,300 an ounce, with strong demand for the safe-haven metal suggesting underlying doubt about the economic recovery. Other precious metals including silver and copper also rose.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average climbed 134.58 points, or 1.4 percent, to 9,606.25 despite growth in exports slowing for a sixth straight month.

Exporters advanced as investors bet on a weaker yen, which the central bank could spur with further monetary easing when it meets next week. Canon Inc. rose 2.5 percent, and Sony Corp. added 1.3 percent.

Missing out was Japan's consumer finance sector, which wilted on a Nikkei report that Takefuji Corp. was preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. Rival lenders Acom Co. and Promise Co. both plunged by about 12 percent. The Tokyo Stock Exchange suspended trading of Takefuji shares.

South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent to 1,857.03 and Hong Kong Hang's Seng advanced 1 percent to 22,349.22.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.5 percent to 4,671.10 as higher metal prices lifted miners. BHP Billiton Ltd. was up 1.4 percent and rival Rio Tinto Ltd. gained 1.8 percent.

Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.9 percent after the South Korean automaker said it is voluntarily recalling 139,500 Sonata sedans in the U.S. because of a manufacturing defect that could cause drivers to lose steering control.

In New York Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 197.84, or 1.9 percent, to close at 10,860.26. The Dow has risen 8.4 percent in September, but is only up 4.1 percent for the year and is still 3.1 percent below its 2010 high reached on April 26.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 23.84, or 2.1 percent, to 1,148.67, ending a three-day losing streak. The Nasdaq composite index rose 54.14, or 2.3 percent, to 2,381.22.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 13 cents at $76.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.31 to settle at $76.49 a barrel on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 84.22 yen from 84.17 yen. The euro fell to $1.3468 from $1.3492.