BANGKOK — Asian shares started the week off with a rally, as Japan’s Nikkei 225 index briefly topped 30,000 for the first time since August 1990.
As of midday the Nikkei
had fallen back below that level but was still up 1.3%, at 29,914.02. Shares also rose in South Korea
Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for the Lunar New Year.
The strong buying in Tokyo was driven by news that the Japanese economy grew at a nearly 13% annual pace in the last quarter, and by strong corporate earnings reports. It was the second straight quarter of growth after a downturn drastically worsened by the impact of the pandemic.
The recovery should put the economy on track to recover to pre-pandemic levels by next year, helped by a recovery in demand for exports in the U.S. and other major trading partners, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economies said in a report.
Japan recently re-imposed a state of emergency in Tokyo and several other prefectures to battle a resurgence of outbreaks. But sustained corporate investment and government spending will help offset the impact on travel, restaurants and other sectors most affected, he said.
“And while most economists expect a renewed contraction this quarter due to the second state of emergency, we think that output will be broadly flat in Q1 and rise more strongly this year than almost anyone anticipates,” he said.
On Friday, technology companies led a late-afternoon rally on Wall Street that capped a week of wobbly trading. with the major stock indexes hitting all-time highs.
The S&P 500
rose 0.5% to 3,934.83, a record high for the second day in a row. It was its second straight weekly gain.
U.S. benchmark crude oil
picked up $1.27 to $60.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It advanced $1.23 to $59.47 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude
the international standard, gained $1.08 to $63.51 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar
rose to 105.04 Japanese yen from 104.99 yen late Friday.