Asia Markets

Japanese stocks rise as dollar climbs against the yen after Abe election win

Key Points
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition secured a two-thirds majority at Sunday's election, local media said
  • Japanese shares closed higher for the 15th straight day while other markets wavered
  • The dollar rose to more than three-month highs against the yen

Japanese stocks closed higher for a 15th consecutive day while other Asian shares wavered on Monday following a snap election in Japan on Sunday. The dollar also spiked to more than three-month highs against the yen during the session.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition secured a two-thirds "super majority" after winning 312 out of 465 seats available at Sunday's election, Reuters said, citing local media. Abe's solid win at the polls points to a continuation of fiscal and hyper-easy monetary policies under his Abenomics program.

Those developments were cheered by investors, with Japanese equities popping at the open. The Nikkei 225 surged 1.11 percent, or 239.01 points, to close higher for a 15th straight session at 21,696.65. Exporters notched gains on the softer Japanese currency: Nissan closed up 1.67 percent, Mitsubishi Motor was up 2.12 percent and Sony rose 0.94 percent. The broader Topix finished the session higher by 0.84 percent.

Following the news, the dollar also spiked fetched as high as 114.09 yen in the session — its highest levels in more than three months. The greenback traded at 113.75 at 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN.

While the election result had been largely expected, the strong mandate resulting from Abe's convincing victory "made all the difference for markets," Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG, said in a note.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was little changed, closing up 0.02 percent at 2,490.05. Gains in blue-chip tech names were offset by declines seen in manufacturing plays and brokerages.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 reversed early gains to close off 0.22 percent at 5,894.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's declined 0.46 percent by 3:02 p.m. HK/SIN as property, gaming and oil stocks declined. Insurer AIA fell 1.5 percent.

Mainland markets, however, closed a touch above the flat line: The edged up 0.11 percent to end at 3,382.2729 and the Shenzhen Composite climbed 0.619 percent to finish at 2,012.0523.

Markets in Thailand and New Zealand are closed today for public holidays.

Stateside, stocks closed higher on Friday after the U.S. Senate passed a budget measure late on Thursday. The move unlocked reconciliation, which enables Republicans to pass a tax bill with a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate.

The Dow Jones industrial average tacked on 0.71 percent, or 165.59 points, to close at a record 23,328.63. Other major indexes touched record highs during the session.

The dollar index stood at 93.770 at 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN, compared to levels around the 93.6 handle seen on Friday.

Ahead, investors are likely to keep an eye on the race for the position of Federal Reserve chair. President Donald Trump indicated in a Fox News interview aired over the weekend that Stanford University economist John Taylor and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell remained among the candidates he was considering. He also said he would make his decision shortly.

Back in in Asia, China's 19th Party Congress remained in focus as markets awaited signs on the future leadership line-up of the country, which will be officially unveiled later this week.

Also in China, average home prices in September rose 6.3 percent compared to one year ago, according to Reuters. That figure was below the 8.3 percent increase seen in August.

In corporate news, Singapore-listed Noble Group said it would be disposing of its capital stock of Noble Americas Corporation, the company's global oil liquids business, for roughly $582 million. Noble shares tumbled 9.21 percent by 3:13 p.m. HK/SIN.

In currencies, the euro was in focus following an ongoing political crisis in Spain. The common currency traded at $1.1755 at 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN after falling as low as $1.1750 in the session. In the week ahead, the euro is expected to be influenced by the European Central Bank's next meeting concluding on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the inched higher to trade at $0.6976 after falling as low as $0.6929 in the session. The Kiwi dollar had fallen following last week's announcement that a Labour Party coalition would be forming the government.

On the energy front, U.S. crude futures were 0.21 percent higher at $51.95 a barrel. Brent crude futures edged up 0.02 percent to trade at $57.76.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.