Asian stocks rose on Friday, touching a fresh two-year high, as investors focused on regional issues in the wake of a benign reaction to geopolitical events.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent to 155.34 as of 12:12pm in Hong Kong, led by technology and telecommunication shares.
The index is up 0.5 percent from last week’s 154.57.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 26.13 points, or 0.26 percent, at 10,199.65. The TAIEX is still up 0.4 percent from last week’s 10,158.15 points.
Japanese equities rose as Softbank Group Corp’s climb to a 17-year high helped boost market sentiment as investors weighed a trio of highly anticipated events that had been referred to as “Super Thursday.”
Softbank rose 7.4 percent to the highest level since May 2000 after Mizuho Financial Group Inc upgraded it to “buy” and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (阿里巴巴) sales forecast beat expectations. The technology company on Friday announced it is buying robotics pioneer Boston Dynamics Inc from Alphabet Inc.
Softbank stock accounted for more than 70 percent of the Nikkei 225 average’s 104-point gain.
The Topix closed higher after swinging between gains and losses and the yen weakened, as the market continued to digest former FBI director James Comey’s testimony at the US Senate, the European Central Bank rate decision and UK election results.
“The UK election isn’t affecting the Japanese market too much, as no one’s been able to fully digest the situation as yet,” said Takuya Takahashi, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. “Today’s rise is owed to Softbank in Tokyo.”
“Nobody cares about the UK elections, really,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd in Sydney. “If you’re a global-based investor in Japan, does that really have an impact?”
In a speech at the University of Oxford on Thursday, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the country had escaped from deflation, but still had more progress to make before reaching its goal for 2 percent inflation.
Topix on Friday rose 0.1 percent to close at 1,591.66 and the Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to 20,013.26 points.
South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.8 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.5 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 0.6 percent and the Shanghai Composite added 0.3 percent.
Additional reporting by CNA
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