Banks lift Japan, Australia shares

Asian shares were mixed Tuesday, with a strong showing by banks pushing Japanese and Australian stock markets higher.

The Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.3 percent to 10,626.03 a day after closing at a nine-month high. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 4,884.50.

Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. added 1.3 percent, and National Australia Bank Ltd. jumped 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1 percent to 23,529.27, and Taiwan's benchmark fell 0.2 percent to 9,127.02.

South Korea's Kospi was down 0.1 percent at 2,080.41 after the index fluctuated between positive and negative territory. Tech blue chips lost ground, with Samsung Electronics Co. off 0.6 percent.

In New York on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose for the sixth straight day in its longest winning streak since November, The index climbed 69.48 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,161.63.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.18, or 0.6 percent, to 1,319.05. Financial companies posted the largest gain of any of the 10 company groups that make up the S&P index.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 14.69, or 0.5 percent, to 2,783.99.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 82.31 yen from 82.29 yen late Monday. The euro stood at $1.3589 from $1.3591.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 8 cents at $87.56 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.55 to settle at $87.48 Monday as investors shifted their focus from unrest in Egypt to the U.S. economy.