* Wall St hits record peaks on merger flows, lifts risk
* Mood swing helps offset concerns about China markets
* Gold and oil hold recent gains, major currencies range
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Feb 25 Asian share markets regained some
altitude on Tuesday courtesy of a tailwind from Wall Street
which sped to historic highs amid more mergers buzz, while gold
consolidated its recent rally.
The upbeat mood among investors in the United States and
Europe at least helped steady markets in China after talk of
credit tightening knocked property shares.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
added 0.5 percent, while Seoul gained
0.7 percent. Australia's market briefly hit its highest since
mid-2008 on a run of solid earnings reports.
Japan's Nikkei bolted ahead by 1.4 percent to breach
the 15,000 barrier, which in turn gave the U.S. dollar a slight
lift on the yen.
"The market looks fairly cheap considering that Japanese
corporate profits are expected to hit record highs in the year
to March and are expected to rise further in the following
financial year," said Ryota Sakagami, chief strategist at SMBC
Asia was following in the footsteps of Wall Street, where
the benchmark S&P 500 hit an intra-day record as the Nasdaq
punched to peaks last seen almost 14 years ago.
The Dow closed up 0.64 percent, while the S&P 500
gained 0.62 percent and the Nasdaq 0.69 percent.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional
shares added 0.64 percent.
A surprise improvement in German business morale added to
optimism over the euro zone's recovery and helped lift European
shares. An one-notch increase in Spain's sovereign debt rating
by Moody's Investors Service Inc also helped stocks in Europe.
The latest U.S. economic data disappointed, but once again
the weakness was put down to bad weather. Instead U.S.
investors focused on a string of merger and acquisition activity
that is pumping cash into the market and signalling growing
confidence among business leaders.
Radio frequency chipmaker RF Micro Devices Inc
agreed to buy peer TriQuint Semiconductor Inc for about
$1.6 billion, and Men's Wearhouse Inc raised its offer
for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc by more than 10 percent.
U.S. Treasuries prices were steady on Tuesday after a dip
overnight, with yields on the benchmark 10-year note
holding at 2.74 percent.
The swing in risk sentiment boosted currencies leveraged to
global growth with the Australian dollar up around $0.9030
, having gained half a cent on Monday.
The rise in the Nikkei helped nudge the U.S. dollar up a
fraction to 102.56 yen, while the euro was tracking
sideways at $1.3735.
Gold was firm at $1,333.15 an ounce after touching a
four-month high, but faces stiff resistance at October's peak of
Oil prices faded just a little on Tuesday after supply
worries gave them a boost the session before. Brent crude
dipped 11 cents to $110.53 a barrel, while U.S. oil
eased 36 cents to $102.46 a barrel.