HONG KONG: Asian markets rose on Wednesday following a strong lead from Wall Street and Europe and amid rising hopes that central banks are poised to act to boost economic growth.
But the euro weakened before a European Central Bank meeting this week as traders waited to see if the bank would back a deal to help the eurozone, and oil was mixed after a rally in the US sparked by Iranian sabre-rattling.
Tokyo put on 0.40 percent, Hong Kong added 0.13 percent and Seoul was up 0.39 percent. Sydney was up 0.85 percent, while Shanghai put on 0.24 percent.
Investors are pinning their hopes on a new round of stimulus measures, known as quantitative easing, from the US Federal Reserve, after weak manufacturing data this week added to concerns about the world's biggest economy.
They are also looking ahead to Friday, when the US government releases its highly anticipated June job growth and unemployment numbers, with the data expected to encourage the Fed to implement more policy easing, dealers said.
Eurozone data, which showed unemployment at a euro-era high of 11.1 percent and weak manufacturing activity, raised hopes that the ECB will cut its rate from the current record low of 1.0 percent to stem the bloc's debt crisis.
"Markets are expecting a rate cut (from the ECB) and then it will all be about the statement," Daniel Brdanovic, HSBC New Zealand chief manager, told Dow Jones Newswires.
"Markets will be looking to see whether the ECB comes out to support what the European leaders came out with last week."
European leaders agreed at a key summit in Brussels last week to use emergency funds to recapitalise ailing banks directly. They also agreed to contribute $150 billion to boost growth.
On currency markets, the euro was quoted at $1.2590 and 100.28 yen in Tokyo morning trade, down from $1.2607 and 100.64 yen in New York late Tuesday.
The dollar was also weaker against the Japanese currency at 79.65 yen from 79.83 yen in US trade.