asian markets

Asian markets picked up in the morning backed by a strong Wall Street performance, as better-than-expected US economic data prompted investors to put eurozone concerns behind.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.6 percent or 31.10 points to 4981.3 while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.5 percent or 10.49 points to 1994.2. In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei average index picked up 0.03 percent or 3.12 points to 12474.7.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent or 18.46 points to 2316.1. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.8 percent or 180.40 points to 22491.5.

Official US data released overnight had shown that demand for durable goods beat estimates in February while single-family home prices in the country marked the biggest annual gain in over six years in January.

The upbeat data had pushed the US markets higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average touching yet another record high and S&P 500 inching closer to an all-time closing peak.

Eurozone concerns had prompted Asian investors to maintain a cautious stand in the previous session. Concerns that the Cyprus bailout model could become a blueprint for aid measures to other economies had brought in questions on the future of eurozone. However, global equity market sentiments picked up after European leaders suggested that the Cyprus bailout plan was unique to the country's circumstances, in a clear attempt to calm the nerves.

"As the dust settled on the last-minute Cypriot bailout, attention turned to peripheral eurozone economies and how their private investors would cope with the sort of haircut Cyprus has seen," notes analysts at IG Markets in Singapore.

"Greece is back on the radar as analysts run the rule over its repayment schedule".

Major Movers

Exporter stocks traded higher in Tokyo as the strong US data improved sentiments. Bridgestone Corp and Panasonic gained 3.6 percent each. Automobile major Mazda was up 2.1 percent. Technology major Sharp fell 3.8 percent as it failed to clinch a funding deal with Hon Hai Precision Industry Company in time.

Property stocks traded higher in Hong Kong. Wharf Holdings was up 3.4 percent while China Resources Land gained 3.03 percent. China Overseas Land and Investment added 2.6 percent.

Earnings related news also impacted market sentiments. Shares of Bank of China were up 2.2 percent after the firm reported improved 2012 earnings.

South Korean automobile firms gained. Kia Motors was up nearly 2 percent while Hyundai rose 2.04 percent.