Asian Stocks Follow U.S. Shares Higher as Japan Exits Recession

Asian stocks rose as data showed Japan’s economy exiting recession, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average closing above 18,000 for the first time since 2007. Financial shares led the advance.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest lender, gained 3.1 percent as the biggest boost to the regional index. Electric-car maker BYD Co. jumped 11 percent in Hong Kong on speculation Apple Inc. will enter the industry. Noble Group Ltd. slumped 8.3 percent after the trading company rejected a research report questioning its accounting practices. Utilities were the only group on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to decline, with New Zealand’s Contact Energy Ltd. dropping 9 percent after first-half profit plunged.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.3 percent to 143.37 as of 4:03 p.m. in Hong Kong. The Topix index rose 0.7 percent after Japan’s gross domestic product increased at an annualized 2.2 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 after a two-quarter contraction. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expected a 3.7 percent increase.

Japan fell into recession after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe increased the sales tax in April. Business spending in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 0.1 percent from the previous quarter, while private consumption increased 0.3 percent.

Source : Bloomberg

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Japanese Stocks Follow U.S. Higher as Economy Exits Recession

Japanese stocks rose after U.S. equities climbed to a record and a report showed Asia’s second-biggest economy exited recession last quarter.

The Topix index gained 0.6 percent to 1,458.70 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, with all of its 33 industry groups rising. The measure climbed 2.3 percent last week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.5 percent to 18,010.02. The yen added 0.1 percent to 118.59 per dollar, strengthening for a third day.

Japan’s economy expanded 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter on an annualized basis, after contracting the previous two periods. The median expectation of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg before the provisional data was for growth of 3.7 percent. An update on industrial production is due later in the day.

The softness of the rebound shows Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s challenge to revive the world’s third-largest economy from two decades of stagnation. Wage rises and increased consumer spending are likely to be pivotal this year to spur activity beyond the export sector, where the lower yen has contributed to surging profits at companies like Toyota Motor Corp.

The yen climbed 0.3 percent versus the greenback last week, with the Bank of Japan said to view further monetary easing as counterproductive for now. More stimulus could trigger losses in the currency that damage confidence, people familiar with the central bank’s discussions said last week. The BOJ meets this week.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent after the underlying gauge rose to a record on Friday. U.S. markets are closed Monday for a holiday.

Data indicating that the euro region’s economy regained some momentum underpinned equity gains Friday, with a gauge of global stocks climbing to an almost three-month high.

Source : Bloomberg

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