Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday following the record closing highs on Wall Street on Friday and as a slowdown in the rate of coronavirus infections and rollouts of Covid-19 vaccine worldwide boosted optimism about the global economic recovery. Markets in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong remained closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged past the 30,000 level for the first time in more than 30 years, according to data from Refinitiv. It rose 1.91% on Monday to 30,084.15 while the Topix index gained 1.04% to close at 1,953.94, as strong corporate earnings and GDP data coupled with optimism over COVID-19 vaccine development prompted investors to flock to risk assets.
Government data released Monday showed Japan’s economy growing 12.7% on an annualized basis between October and December last year. The preliminary reading for fourth-quarter gross domestic product was higher than economists’ median estimate of a 9.5% gain, according to Reuters.
South Korea’s Kospi also saw robust gains as it jumped 1.5% to close at 3,147. Stocks in Australia edged higher, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.91% on the day to 6,868.90.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.57%.
Asian Markets Oil & Currencies
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.52% to $63.38 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 2% to $60.66 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.344 after weakening earlier this month from the 91.2 handle.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.09 per dollar, weaker than levels below 104.8 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.778 following its rise last week from levels below $0.772.