Shares in Asia closed higher across the region today. In Japan, the Nikkei Index added 0.3 percent to close at 9,832, buoyed by positive data out of Australia showing that the country had added 40,600 workers.

Shipping stocks were among the best performers as overall shipping fees increased, with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (KAKKF) soaring 7.4 percent, Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYUKF) climbing 7.3 percent, and Mitsui OSK Lines (MSLOF) gaining 5.5 percent. Share prices were also helped by Merrill Lynch lifting its rating on all three shippers.

Carmakers were in positive territory after a dramatic day; Typhoon Melor caused many car manufacturers to temporarily close their factories as several areas were evacuated. Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), which closed 12 factories because of the storm, ended the day up 1.7 percent, and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (HMC), which closed one plant, managed a 1.3 percent gain, and Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. (DHTMF), the country's largest maker of compact cars, closed four factories and ended the day up 1.4 percent. Hiroshima-based Mazda Motor Corp. (MZDAF), which was unaffected by the hurricane, gained 3.3 percent as it is planning to sell new shares to reduce its loss for the year.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed at 21,493 adding 1.2 percent. Shares in the territory's developers moved higher as Goldman Sachs recommended property companies such as Sino Land Ltd. (SNLAY), which gained 3.2 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SUHJY), which added 2.9 percent and builder Kerry Properties (KRYPF), which rose 3.6 percent.

In Hong Kong, investor appetite for IPOs returned today with apparel manufacturer Jiangchen International Holdings Ltd. surging 110 percent in its debut on the new Nasdaq-style GEM board. Likewise, Ausnutria Dairy Corp. leaped 28 percent. The milk powder manufacturer has the edge in escaping China's new food safety regulations as most of its ingredients come from Australia.

Other companies to go public today included Yingde Gasses Group Co., which climbed 12 percent and China Vanadium Titano-Magnetite Mining Co., which added 5.1 percent. Eternite International Co. Ltd., the Hong Kong-based jewelry company that debuted yesterday added 7.4 percent to yesterday's gain of 62 percent.

Now the pressure is really on for billionaire Stephen Wynn's casino company, Wynn Macau Ltd., which debuts tomorrow in the largest of the city's recent IPOs.

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