Asian Equities Rise Markets in Region Remain Closed

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By Investors Hub

Asian stocks rose on Friday after U.S. shares extended their winning streak to five sessions overnight, shrugging off concerns over inflation and higher interest rates.

Trading volumes remained light across Asia as markets in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Chinese markets remain closed until February 21st.

Japanese shares saw a relief rally after the government nominated Haruhiko Kuroda to serve a second five-year term as the head of the Bank of Japan, a signal that easy monetary policy will continue.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 255.27 points or 1.2 percent to 21,720.25, taking the weekly gain to 1.6 percent. The broader Topix index closed 1.1 percent higher at 1,737.37, led by food and utility stocks.

Ajinomoto climbed 2 percent and Tokyo Electric Power advanced 4.4 percent. Exporters Toyota, Honda Motor, Sony and Panasonic rose 1-2 percent despite a stronger yen.

Inpex gained 0.8 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration added 0.7 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent overnight.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 Index climbed 61.98 points or 0.8 percent to 8,125.31 after the latest survey from Business NZ showed the country’s manufacturing sector expanded at an accelerated rate in January.

Auckland International Airport rallied 2.8 percent after its first-half profit rose 17 percent from last year. Tourism Holdings soared 6.5 percent to a record high after forming a joint venture with Thor Industries to buy a U.S.-based travel planning platform.

Meanwhile, Australian shares closed marginally lower but ended the week with notable gains. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 5 points or 0.1 percent to 5,904 but the ended the week higher by more than 1 percent. The broader All Ordinaries Index edged down 3.90 points to 6,004.80.

Miner South32 tumbled 5.1 percent amid brokerage downgrades due to a softening outlook. Gold miner Newcrest lost 3.2 percent, a day after it reported a 58 percent slide in first-half underlying profit.

Whitehaven Coal slumped 4.5 percent after the coal miner reaffirmed its lower full-year production guidance.

On the other hand, healthcare stocks were in demand, with CSL rising 1.3 percent, Medibank Private climbing 3.6 percent and Primary Health Care rallying 3.4 percent.

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