Asian Stocks Finish With Gains

Stocks in Japan rose modestly on media reports that Toshiba planned to buy Fujitsu's hard-disk drive business.
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Updated from 12:37 a.m. EST

Asian stocks closed higher Wednesday, with Japanese shares rising modestly as the yen leveled off after recent steep gains against the dollar and as investors shopped for bargains.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.3% to 8438.45, breaking a three-day slump.

Shares of

Toshiba

and

Fujitsu

gained on media reports that Toshiba may buy Fujitsu's hard-disk drive business. A purchase would make Toshiba the world's biggest maker and take a loss-maker off of Fujitsu's books.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

rose 4.5%. Media reports Tuesday had Sony reporting its first-ever yearly operating loss. Automaker

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

closed higher by 1.6%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 0.3%, while the Kospi index in South Korea closed up 2.7%.

HSBC

(HBC)

weighed on Hong Kong's market after Morgan Stanley analysts said the heavyweight London-based lender may have to raise $30 billion. The company's shares fell 4%.

The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia closed higher by 0.9%.

Rio Tinto

(RTP)

, which trades in Sydney and London, said Wednesday it would cut production and jobs at a diamond mine in Outback Australia because of the global economic downturn.

Stocks in Europe were trading mixed. The FTSE 100 index in London fell 0.3%, while the DAX index in Frankfurt was trading 0.2% higher.

Premarket futures in the U.S. were indicating a higher opening for stocks on Wall Street Wednesday.

Stocks in the U.S. ended mixed Tuesday as investors weighed earnings reports and further corporate job losses.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

declined 25.41 points, or 0.3%, to 8448.56. The

S&P 500

edged up 1.49 points, or 0.2%, at 871.75, and the

Nasdaq

rose 7.67 points, or 0.5%, to 1546.46.

Oil topped $39 a barrel after

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke said a stimulus package could help revitalize the ailing U.S. economy. Oil rose $1.31 to $39.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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