Asian stock markets leap higher on China stimulus plan

Commodity firms helped lead Australia's market higher on hopes a wave of Chinese building as a result of the stimulus measures would underpin demand for resources. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, added 7%, and Rio Tinto advanced almost 8%.

Australian shares also were helped by speculation that the country's central bank would cut interest rates further after it lowered its forecasts for economic growth over the next two years.

In Japan, Sony rose 7.6% and fellow electronics heavyweight Sharp Corp. was up 7.3%. Mitsubish Heavy Industries gained 6.3% to 391 yen.

Investors shrugged off bad news about capital investment in Japan, where core machinery orders dropped a record-tying 10.4% in the third quarter.

The dollar strengthened to 99.02 yen, up from 98.21 late Friday in New York.

Oil prices rose in tandem with the region's markets, with a barrel of light, sweet crude for December delivery gaining $2.87 to $63.91 in Asian trade. The contract settled at $61.04, up 27 cents, in Friday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

AP reporters Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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