(AP) Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday, boosted by good data from Japan and China and some easing of concerns over Syria after Russia offered to press Damascus to put its chemical weapons under international control.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225, the regional heavyweight, was up 1.2 percent in morning trading at 14,371.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.6 percent to 22,885.39, while benchmarks in Indonesia, India and the Philippines were up 2 percent or more.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised Monday to push Russia's ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem quickly embraced the proposal.
President Barack Obama has called for military intervention in Syria after alleging that the regime of President Bashar Assad used deadly chemical weapons against civilians in suburban Damascus last month.
Andrew Sullivan at Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong said markets were boosted by the easing of concerns over Syria in the short term and continuing good data out of Japan and China, Asia's two biggest economies.
"I think generally people are more optimistic," he said, adding that the minutes of the last Bank of Japan meeting released Tuesday morning were also "quite positive."
On Monday, Japanese shares rallied thanks to Tokyo's Olympic bid victory, which helped lift sentiment, while Chinese stocks surged after the economy recorded a bigger-than-expected trade surplus of $28.6 billion in August.
Sullivan said people who have money sitting on the sidelines also are investing as the last quarter of the year rolls in, either in hope of a third quarter rally or in preparation for the first quarter next year.
In Wall Street, mergers, homes and phones boosted the stock market Monday, with shares posting their biggest gains in almost two months.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1 percent to 15,063.12. The Dow hit an all-time high of 15,658 on Aug. 2, but worries about Syria and rising interest rates pushed stocks down since then. The last time the Dow closed above 15,000 was Aug. 23.
In Europe, the mood was subdued Monday. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 0.3 percent at 6,530.74 while Germany's DAX was steady at 8,276.32. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.4 percent lower at 4,040.33.
Benchmark oil for October delivery fell $1.15 to $108.37 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.01 to close at $109.52 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3264 from $1.3251 late Monday. The dollar fell to 99.61 yen from 99.70 yen.