Asian stocks rose for an eighth day, pushing the benchmark index to its longest streak of gains since 2004, on optimism government spending and lower interest rates will alleviate the global recession.
Major stock markets in the region advanced, except in Australia. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 2.1 per cent to close at 9043.12 points in a half-day session, the highest since November 10 and the index's best start to a new year since 2002.
Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's number three bank by market value, rallied 13 per cent to 292 yen after a stock split and as the Sankei newspaper said Japan's Government and central bank are considering buying corporate debt, stocks and derivatives from financial companies. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, the second biggest, soared 11 per cent to 4190 yen. Both were untraded in the final days of 2008 as they conducted 1000-to-1 stock splits related to Japan's move to a paperless stock system, making the shares more accessible to individual investors. Nintendo Co, which gets 40 per cent of its sales from the US, led gains after officials said US President-elect Barack Obama might cut taxes by more than $300 billion (Dh1.10trn) and as the yen weakened. Nintendo jumped 5.2 per cent to 35,500 yen in Osaka trading. Japanese markets had been closed since December 30 for New Year's holidays.
China's benchmark CSI 300 Index snapped an eight-day losing streak. Hong Kong's benchmark stock index rose to its highest level in more than three weeks, after gains in metals and oil prices lifted commodities producers. The Hang Seng Index added 520.50, or 3.5 per cent, to 15563.31, its highest close since December 11.
India's Sensex Index advanced 1.6 per cent after the central bank cut rates for a fourth time. State Bank of India, the nation's biggest lender, added 2.4 per cent to Rs1,361.5, while ICICI Bank surged 3.5 per cent to Rs487.55.
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