Asian markets boosted as Dow sets new record

Asian markets rose on Wednesday, boosted by another record high for the Dow on Wall Street while concerns over the Cyprus bailout receded.

The euro was mixed as dealers remain uneasy about the outlook for the wider eurozone in light of the Cyprus crisis while there is also ongoing political uncertainty in Italy.

Tokyo climbed 0.18 percent, or 22.17 points, to 12,493.79 and Sydney added 0.91 percent, or 44.8 points, to close at 4,995.0, while Seoul advanced 0.91 percent, or 9.74 points, to 1,993.44.

Hong Kong rose 0.69 percent, or 153.74 points, to 22,646.82 and Shanghai was up 0.16 percent, or 3.59 points, at 2,301.26.

Equity markets have stabilised since Nicosia agreed a last-minute deal with its international lenders that will see it receive a $13 billion rescue package to help pay its bills.

And while the decision to tax bank savings above 100,000 euros raised fears of a similar move in future rescues -- reinforced by comments from the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers -- officials said Tuesday that Cyprus was a special case.

Wall Street provided the catalyst for buying as the Dow rose 0.77 percent to end at a new record, while the S&P 500 added 0.78 percent to close just two points shy of its own all-time high set in October 2007.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 17.18 (0.53 percent) to 3,252.48.

Tuesday's gains came on the back of data showing durable goods orders for February rose solidly, while the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index revealed an 8.1 percent rise in prices for 20 leading US cities for the 12 months to January, the highest year-on-year increase since mid-2006.

However, they were tempered by the Conference Board index of consumer confidence, which fell on concerns over swingeing federal budget cuts that kicked in on March 1.

On forex markets the dollar climbed to 94.77 yen from 94.55 yen in New York late Tuesday as eyes begin to turn to a Bank of Japan policy meeting next week that is expected to usher in fresh easing measures.

The meeting is the first under new governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who is a proponent of aggressive monetary policy to drag the country out of deflation.

The euro also climbed to 121.70 yen from 121.56 yen in New York but sat at $1.2822 compared with $1.2856.

The single currency still faces headwinds from lingering worries ahead of the opening Thursday of banks in Cyprus, which have been closed for almost two weeks.

On oil markets prices eased, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, dropping 42 cents to $95.92 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for May off 34 cents at $109.02.

Gold was at $1,595.70 an ounce at 0825 GMT compared with $1,596.20 late on Tuesday.

In other markets:

-- Manila rose 2.74 percent, adding 182.35 points to 6,847.47.

Traders welcomed a decision by Fitch to upgrade the country's credit rating to investment grade, citing the nation's resilient economy and improved fiscal management.

The move represents the first time one of the top three ratings agencies has graded the country so high.

"While some investors want at least two out of three major rating agencies to put a country at investment grade, this news will still make it easier for the market to reach 7,000," Luz Lorenzo of Maybank ATR-Kim Eng told Dow Jones Newswires.

BDO Unibank climbed 2.28 percent to 89.75 pesos, while Philippine Long Distance Telephone surged 4.18 percent to 2,988 pesos and Ayala Corp. added 1.34 percent to 566 pesos.

-- Taipei rose 0.48 percent, or 37.76 points, to 7,894.12.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company rose 1.52 percent to Tw$100.5 while Hon Hai was flat at Tw$83.5.

-- Wellington rose 1.52 percent, or 66.03 points, to 4,412.06.

Telecom rose 4.27 percent to NZ$2.32 and Fletcher Building was up 3.25 percent at NZ$8.58.

-- Mumbai was closed for a public holiday.