Asian Equities Higher

Asian shares advanced close to recent highs on Friday and the dollar stood tall after news that Greece had made a 450 million euro loan payment to the International Monetary Fund trimmed safety bids for U.S. government debt.  The payment to the IMF secured extra emergency lending for Greek banks and helped improve global risk sentiment, though it remained unclear whether Athens could satisfy creditors who remain sceptical on the country’s economic reforms.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up about 0.1 percent, not far from the previous session’s peak which was the highest since September, and on track for a robust weekly gain of over 3 percent.  Wall Street posted solid gains overnight, and European markets ended higher after German industrial output and trade data showed the continent’s largest economy improving in February. Europe’s EuroFirst 300 index .FTEU3 surged 1.1 percent to its highest level since July 2007.

Japan’s Nikkei stock average .N225 was up 0.3 percent in early trade, breaking the 20,000 level for the first time since April 2000.  U.S. Treasury yields rose overnight on the Greek news, weak demand at a sale of 30-year bonds, and a smaller-than-expected rise in weekly jobless claims that alleviated some concern about the U.S. labour market after last week’s dismal March payrolls report.