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Asian markets closed higher; Nikkei jumps as Abe promises 'bold' stimulus

What's driving Asia stocks today

Asian markets finished higher on Tuesday, with the Nikkei extending a banner rally as stimulus comments made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late on Monday helped to weaken the yen.

The closed 2.46 percent, or 386.83 points higher, at 16,095.65 and the Topix finished up 2.38 percent, or 29.94 points, at 1,285.73, after both indexes tacked on nearly 4 percent each on Monday.

The Japanese yen continued to fall against the greenback, with the dollar-yen currency pair rising as high as 103.28 intraday after touching levels as low as 100.45 on Monday. At 4:27 p.m. HK/SIN, the dollar was fetching 103.14 yen. A weaker yen is generally seen as a positive for Japanese stocks because it makes the country's exports more competitive and it boost the value of repatriated earnings.

On Monday Abe, fresh from a big win in Japan's Upper House elections at the weekend, said that he planned to make "bold investment into seeds of future growth," Reuters reported. He did not set out the size of any fiscal stimulus spending, but analysts expected a "big bazooka" might be in the works. The market was also expecting the Bank of Japan would soon step up with further monetary stimulus.

"It was post-elections political will to swiftly, boldly and comprehensively boost fiscal stimulus (despite budget constraints) that motivated the yen drop," Mizuho said in a note Tuesday, citing expectations for more Japanese government bond issuance to finance that stimulus.

"Abe's rousing victory is far more important in reviving 'Abenomics' as a dynamo for economic recovery," Mizuho said, calling it "Abenomics Go," in reference to the wild success of the launch of Nintendo's Pokemon Go game.

In other Asian markets, the Hang Seng Index added 1.65 percent, or 344.24 points, to finish at 21,224.74. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite closed up 1.83 percent, or 54.765 points, at 3,049.68, while the Shenzhen composite finished 1.2 percent, 24.04 points, at 2,025.02 after falling into negative territory earlier. In South Korea, the Kospi closed up 0.14 percent, or 2.69 points, at 1,991.23.

The ASX 200 finished up 0.3 percent, or 16.095 points, at 5,353.2, supported by heavily-weighted financial subindex and the materials subindex, which were up 0.43 percent and 0.95 percent respectively.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

In Japan, Nintendo shares tacked on another 12.73 percent on Tuesday after rocketing faster than a speeding Pikachu on Monday, climbing nearly 25 percent after the company's new smartphone game Pokemon Go dominated the list of top free apps in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand App Store.

"Stock wise, it's hard to go past Nintendo at present and the scope to monetize the Pokemon GO is huge," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at spreadbettor IG, said.

Asian markets likely some got momentum from strong finishes on U.S. indexes. The S&P 500 closed at a new all-time high at 2,137.16, led by information technology stocks. The closed 0.44 percent higher at 18,226.93, while the gained 0.64 percent at 4,988.64.

Traders are likely to listen closely for clues on Fed rate expectations from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard at 8:45 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Oil prices settled lower by more than 1 percent on Monday, touching two-month lows on oversupply fears after smaller-than-expected drawdowns in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories data released last week and rising U.S. oil drilling rig counts.

Brent futures were trading up 0.13 percent at $46.31 per barrel after settling at $46.25, while U.S. crude futures was higher by 0.16 percent at $44.83, after closing at $44.76.

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