Asia-Pacific Markets

Asian Markets Advance, Tokyo Closes Above 10,000

Asian shares marched towards new highs for the year Friday as stronger-than-expected Chinese industrial output data and a rise in U.S. retail sales fuelled hopes that the worst was over for the global economy. Tokyo closed above 10,000 for the first time in eight months.

The safe-haven dollar was largely unchanged after Thursday's falls, but oil prices slipped below $73 following a three-day rally that brought levels to their highest since mid-October. The strong shift toward riskier assets over the past few months has been anchored by the improving global economic prospects, especially in the United States and China.

Data on Friday showed China's annual industrial output growth reboundedby a stronger-than-expected 8.9 percent in May, in line with Chinese media articles on Wednesday that had reported the data ahead of the official release.

With investors increasingly confident that the global economy is at or near a bottom, the debate has shifted toward how any recovery would take shape amid contradictory signals and conflicting forecasts.

The Nikkei 225 Average surged 1.5 percent, to close above 10,000 for the first time in eight months as upbeat data from Japan and China fed hopes for global economic recovery, leading to broad-based buying. Nomura Holdings climbed more than 5 percent after Merrill Lynch upgraded it to "buy" from "neutral", saying in a report that Japan's largest brokerage was likely to turn profitable in the next financial year.  

South Korea's KOSPI ended higher helped by positive economic data from China, with rallies
in commodities-related issues such as steelmaker POSCO boosting the market further.

Australian shares finished up 0.4 percent to a fresh seven-month closing high, led by resources and energy firms on higher commodity prices and speculation of more Chinese investment in the mining sector.

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Hong Kong shares rose for a third straight day, up 0.5 percent, with the main index breaching the 19,000-point level for the first time in nine months, as data from the U.S. and China strengthened the case for a turnaround in the global economy. HSBC climbed 3.5 percent, lifted by encouraging retail sales and jobs data from the U.S. The stock has lagged behind its peers and the broader index as it went into a tailspin ahead of its cash
call in March.

Singapore's Straits Times Index slipped 0.2 percent into the red with blue chips putting in a mixed performance.

China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.9 percent. A senior securities regulator said China would resume initial public offerings on its stock exchanges before launching a new Nasdaq-style second board for start-up companies, which analysts said suggested a resumption of IPOs could be imminent, although it was unknown how big the first batch might be. This is seen as negative for the market as there's currently already an oversupply of shares.