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Asia stocks higher as initial jitters ease over election win by Greek anti-austerity party

TOKYO – Asian stocks were mostly higher Tuesday as markets calmed from initial jitters over Greece’s election result, with Tokyo shares making a significant rebound, cheered by the cheap yen.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average jumped 1.3 per cent to 17,696.95 and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 per cent to 1,944.08. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 per cent to 5,528.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5 per cent to 24,784.95. Southeast Asian markets were also mostly higher.

GREECE FACTOR: Asian markets were the first to weigh the meaning of Sunday’s election victory by Greece’s Syriza party, which has vowed to end painful austerity policies that are a condition of the country’s EU-IMF-ECB bailout. But European and U.S. stocks rose later in the global day, as concerns of a disastrous confrontation in which, say, Greece might stop repaying its loans or the eurozone stop funding Athens, eased after both sides said they were open to negotiation.

ANALYST TAKE: “Investors are seeing that the risk factor has eased,” Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc. in Tokyo, said of the markets’ reaction to the Greek election. Players were now turning to the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in the U.S. later in the week for more nuances about the timing of interest rate hikes, although major policy changes were not expected, he told NTV news.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial added 6.10 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 17,678.70. The Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 5.27 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,057.09. The Nasdaq composite rose 13.88 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,771.76.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 11 cents to $45.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 44 cents to close at $45.15 on Monday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 15 cents to $48.31. Oil has plunged since June, when it traded above $100, on high supplies and weak growth in demand.

CURRENCIES: The euro was little changed at $1.1243 from $1.1246 the previous day after trading at its lowest since 2003. The dollar was unchanged from late Monday at 118.27 yen, but that marked a rebound from recent sessions.

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