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Asian stock markets opened higher Monday amid investor optimism that U.S. lawmakers will reach a last-minute deal to raise the government's debt limit and avoid a default.
Republican and Democratic leaders closed in on an agreement Sunday but no votes seemed likely in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest. The Treasury Department says it will run out of money to pay the government's obligations Tuesday unless the debt limit is raised.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average was up 1.3 percent at 9,964.54 early Monday, while South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,159.46.
Australia's benchmark stock index gained 0.8 percent to 4,461, and New Zealand rose 0.3 percent.
The dollar rose to 77.50 yen in Asia from 76.72 yen late Friday in New York. The euro fell to $1.4367 from $1.4403.
Benchmark oil for September delivery was up $1.20 to $96.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude dropped $1.74 to settle at $95.70 on Friday.
Associated Press, Singapore | Mon, 08/01/2011 7:34 AM