Asian Shares Mostly Higher In Thin Holiday Trade

Asian stocks ended mostly higher in thin trading on Monday, with markets in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul closed for Lunar New Year celebrations. Chinese markets won’t resume trading until January 30.

Japanese shares rallied as the yen retreated from last week’s 7 1/2-month high and minutes of the Bank of Japan’s December policy meeting showed board members wanted to modify their yield control curve in order to improve market functionality.

The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 1.3 percent to 26,906.04, with chip-related stocks leading gains. The broader Topix ended 1.0 percent higher at 1,945.38.

Australian markets finished marginally higher as miners snapped a two-day winning streak, offsetting gains in the tech sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index closed up 5.10 points or 0.1 percent at 7,457.30, extending gains for the fourth day running and hitting its highest level since April 22 last year.

The broader All Ordinaries Index finished higher by 7.90 points 0.1 percent at 7,674.20. Tech heavyweight Block Inc surged 6.1 percent.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand shares ended slightly lower as the Labor Party caucus selected Chris Hipkins to succeed Jacinda Ardern as the country’s next prime minister.

Hipkins has stated he would switch focus from COVID-19 to bolstering the economy as recession looms after a series of sharp interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index settled 0.2 percent lower at 11,948.72 ahead of the latest inflation figures due in the middle of the week.

Serko soared 8.7 percent after the business travel software maker upgraded its revenue guidance for the fiscal year.

Indian shares were off their day’s highs, with the Sensex trading up 0.4 percent at 60,864.

Oil and gold prices were slightly lower in Asian trading as the dollar struggled to recover ahead of more corporate earnings and economic data due this week.

U.S. stocks rose sharply on Friday, as streaming giant Netflix reported stronger than expected subscriber growth, Google parent Alphabet revealed a plan to cut 12,000 jobs globally and Fed officials Patrick Harker and Christopher Waller said they favor a 25-basis-point rate hike at the next meeting.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 1.9 percent to mark its first gain in four days, while the Dow gained 1 percent.

European stocks closed modestly higher on Friday amid optimism about Chinese economic growth and signs of cooling inflation.

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