LONDON (CNNfn) - Tokyo stocks surged Wednesday in the wake of solid gains on Wall Street, while most other Asian markets also moved ahead with technology shares in the spotlight.|
Japanís Nikkei 225 benchmark extended its early-session gains into the afternoon, closing at a session high of 18,461.93, up 381 points or 2.11 percent.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong failed to stay in positive territory and ended down 56 points or 0.35 percent at 16,192.34. Earlier it reached 16,437 amid heavy demand for technology shares.
The Straits Times index in Singapore broke its losing streak to close 0.8 percent up to 2,383.66
The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.9 percent to 967.93 while smaller markets also benefited from the benign outlook for U.S. rates.
Asian stocks gained momentum from the previous sessionís rally on Wall Street, spurred by the U.S. Federal Reserve decision to leave interest rates unchanged and maintain a neutral bias on possible future rate changes. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index soared 3.4 percent to close at 3,911.15, its largest-ever points gain, while the Dow Jones industrial average rose 56 to 11,200.54 and the S&P 500 advanced 1 percent to 1,433.43,
In Tokyo, Sega Enterprises was the healthiest blue-chip performer, ending up 8.3 percent, while Sony Corp. rose 6.7 percent to a new record high.
Telecom shares also fuelled the Nikkeiís rise, with NTT up 2.4 percent and cellular arm NTT DoCoMo climbing 2 percent.
Banks posted firm gains, with Sumitomo Bank up 4.1 percent and Sanwa Bank adding 3.6 percent.
In the auto sector, Nissan Diesel soared 13 percent following reports it may form a joint
venture with Renault (PRNO), though Nissan Motor, which has a 35 percent stake in the truck maker, lost 2.5 percent. Honda Motor rose 2.3 percent.
Hong Kong weakened in afternoon trade despite a solid performance by technology shares, led by a 12 percent surge in Pacific Century CyberWorks. Great Wall Technology rose 3.4 percent.
The rest of the market fell, with heavyweight Cheung Kong (Holdings) ending off 1.3 percent. Hotel group Shangri-la Asia was the largest decliner, shedding 4.4 percent while property heavyweight New World Development was down almost 3 percent. Banking heavyweight HSBC Holdings lost 0.5 percent.
The Singapore market held on to early gains, helped by another 5 percent rise in Singapore Airlines, which this week agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in U.K. airline Virgin Atlantic. Singapore Press Holdings added 3.2 percent and Datacraft rose 3.7 percent, but heavyweight bank stock DBS Group fell almost 3 percent.
The All Ordinaries in Sydney closed up 1.1 percent at 3,141.40, just 3 points shy of its all-time high set on April 27.
The Set index in Thailand was the regionís best† performer, surging 3.1 percent to close at 45.64.
The PHS Composite in Manila closed up 1.4 percent at 2,062.81 while the JSX in Jakarta ended 0.6 percent higher at 61.05.
Taiwanís Weighted index closed up almost 1 percent at 8,002.76, but the KLSE Composite in Kuala Lumpur failed to catch the mood, losing 0.4 percent to end at 787.91.
-- from staff and wire reports