Stocks rise on back of Apple surge

Asian stocks rose today as investors stayed calm in the face of a possible debt default by Greece to search for good deals in technology shares boosted by stunning results from Apple.

Asian stocks rose today as investors stayed calm in the face of a possible debt default by Greece to search for good deals in technology shares boosted by stunning results from Apple.

Benchmark crude rose to about 99 US dollars per barrel while the dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1% to 8,876.61. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1% to 1,947.43 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.9% to 4,263.10.

Benchmarks in Singapore and New Zealand rose, while shares in Indonesia and the Philippines fell.

Markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan remained closed for Chinese New Year.

Japan’s powerhouse export sector got a lift from a moderation in the yen’s strength even as the country reported its first annual trade deficit since 1980.

A strong yen, which hit multiple historic highs last year against the dollar, shrinks the value of overseas earnings when repatriated and makes Japanese products less competitive.

Honda Motor surged 4.2%. Mitsubishi Motor jumped 4.4% and Sony added 4.4%. Tyre-maker Bridgestone added 4.1%.

Technology stocks were elevated after Apple reported earnings that sailed past analyst estimates. Apple said it sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, vastly exceeding estimates and propelling the company to record quarterly results.

That stellar performance reverberated throughout the global tech industry. South Korea’s LG Electronics, which ranks second globally in flat screen televisions, jumped 3.5%. Hynix Semiconductor, the world’s second-largest memory chip maker, added 1.3%.

In Australia, financial stocks posted gains after data showed inflation was continuing to slow, raising expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia would likely cut interest rates.

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