Japanese shares climbed to a seven-year high and the yen strengthened as the country exited a recession. New Zealand’s dollar advanced after retail sales rose, while Malaysia’s ringgit gained for a second day.
The Topix index advanced 0.9 percent by 11:02 a.m. in Tokyo, sending the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to a gain of 0.4 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropped 0.2 percent after the U.S. gauge reached a record Friday. The yen strengthened 0.2 percent and the yield on 10-year Japanese bonds climbed two basis points. The kiwi added 0.6 percent after retail-sales growth accelerated. Brent crude held gains above $60 a barrel and the ringgit appreciated 0.4 percent.
While Japan’s expansion last quarter trailed economist estimates, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank said the figures showed Asia’s second-largest economy is on the path to recovery. Greece and its creditors continue talks today, while fighting over a contested transport hub threatens to derail the new cease-fire agreement in Ukraine. U.S. markets are closed for a holiday today, with the Federal Reserve set to release minutes of its January meeting on Wednesday.