• Asia stocks climb after Wall St record

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    HONG KONG: Asian markets advanced on 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 percent, 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 percent, 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 percent, or 18.53 points, to 3,222.36 and Hong Kong added 0.18 percent, 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 skeptics.

    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 giant 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 percent, while the Dow added 0.26 percent to break 18,000 for the first time this year. The Nasdaq advanced 0.75 percent.

    Japan’s Nikkei was also boosted by news the economy grew 0.6 percent—or an annualized rate of 2.2 percent—in the three months to December.

    AFP

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