HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets advanced Monday following a record close on Wall Street, while Greece’s leadership said it was confident it could hammer out a new debt deal with European creditors.
Japanese shares ended above 18,000 for the first time in more than seven years, supported by data showing the economy had exited recession.
Tokyo rose 0.51 per cent, or 91.41 points, to finish at 18,004.77 – the first time it has been above the psychologically key level since July 2007.
Sydney added 0.19 per cent, or 11.2 points, to 5,888.7 and Seoul was marginally higher, tacking on 0.73 points to 1,958.23. Shanghai climbed 0.58 per cent, or 18.53 points, to 3,222.36 and Hong Kong added 0.18 per cent, or 43.99 points to 24,726.53.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will Monday meet his counterparts from the eurozone in Brussels to seek their backing for an overhaul of the austerity-laden bailout, which Athens says has crippled the economy.
While it faces stern opposition, mostly from key European paymaster Germany, Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras say they are confident they can win over sceptics.
Global markets are hoping a deal can be reached before the end of the month, when Greece’s bailout is due to expire. Failure to agree an extension would see it default on its debts and likely mean it would crash out of the eurozone.
Regional investors were given a strong lead from New York Friday, where the S&P 500 ended at a new record high following data showing Germany’s economy expanded more than expected in the final three months of 2014.
The S&P 500 rose 0.41 per cent, while the Dow added 0.26 per cent to break 18,000 for the first time this year. The Nasdaq advanced 0.75 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei was also boosted by news the economy grew 0.6 per cent – or an annualised rate of 2.2 per cent – in the three months to December.
While the rate was slower than the 0.9 per cent expected, it comes after the world’s third-largest economy had contracted for a second straight quarter in July-September.
“Even though it missed estimates, the figures are positive which means at least the direction of the recovery is right,” Ayako Sera, a markets strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
On currency markets the dollar fetched 118.57 yen, against 118.74 yen in New York.
The euro was at $1.1421 and 135.43 yen compared with $1.1393 and 135.29 yen.
Oil prices turned lower after rallying Friday on optimism about falling US production.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 28 cents to $52.50, while Brent for April fell 32 cents to $61.20 in afternoon trade.
Gold fetched $1,234.98 an ounce, against $1,225.23 on Friday.