Asia-Pacific Markets

Economic Optimism Lifts Asian Markets

Asian markets open the Monday session higher as optimism grows that the United States economy is starting to stabilize. Trade in equities is thin due to the Golden Week holidays in Japan, with markets there closed until Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average closed at 8,977.37 on Friday.

Data from the U.S. on Friday showed consumer confidence had recovered to its best level since September, pushing the main Wall Street indexes up as much as 1 percent.

Shares in energy stocks were among the leaders after crude oil futures gained 4 percent to trade just below $53 a barrel in the early Asian session, on the U.S. consumer confidence and data showing oil supply fell in April.  The U.S. dollar and yen were both lower as the improved data saw increasing appetite for riskier assets, with commodity prices also gaining.

Seoul shares jumped 1 percent, led by rising banking shares including KB Financial Group, with Wall Street gains on Friday and resilient trade data also helping.

More From

Australian shares rose 1.2 percent, strengthened by major mining stocks and wide gains for
banking shares.