Japanese shares touched an eight-year high on Monday following a record close on Wall Street, with investors cautiously optimistic the European Union would make progress this week on a debt deal with Greece. Oil prices faded after an early spurt, while the major currencies stayed locked in recent tight ranges.
Data from Japan showed the economy emerged from recession in the final quarter of last year, though growth of 0.6 percent was short of market forecasts. Investors still seemed encouraged and the Nikkei .N225 firmed 0.6 percent to its highest since 2007.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS recouped a small initial loss to inch ahead to 483.90. The index boasted its highest close since late October on Friday but is bumping up against a major band of chart resistance in the 484 to 486 area. Australia’s main index .AXJO went flat, while Shanghai shares .SSEC rose 0.1 percent. Holidays will be a feature this week with the United States off on Monday and much of Asia celebrating the Lunar New Year. China’s markets are off from Feb. 18 right through to the 24th.
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