Japanese stocks jumped Monday as exporters rallied on the back of upbeat U.S. economic data, while Chinese shares fell further in choppy year-end trading on concerns about the nation’s economic outlook.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average, which was closed for a holiday Friday, climbed 1% to 8,479.34. The rise follows broad gains in global equity markets after Friday’s strong finish on Wall Street and strong U.S. economic data.
Daiwa Research strategist Kazuhiro Miyake wrote to clients that while the yen might continue to appreciate over the long term — the yen’s appreciation adversely affects profits for Japanese exporters — the currency could fall against the U.S. dollar in 2012 due to a possible recovery in the American economy.
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“It appears concerns the U.S. housing market might deteriorate even further have receded and that a gradual recovery is becoming more likely,” said Mr. Miyake.
Shares of machinery manufacturers and other exporters led the advance in Tokyo. Fanuc Corp. rose 2.9%, and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. gained 0.8%. Makita Corp. jumped 7.9% after announcing plans last week to buy back up to 2 million of its own shares.
Among other exporters, Honda Motor Co. added 1.3%, while Sony Corp. climbed 1.6%.
Other markets in the region ended lower in thin trading volumes. China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7% to 2,190.11, after moving in both directions. The index is now down more than 22% so far this year, including a loss in excess of 6% just this month, on fears the euro zone’s debt troubles and a monetary policy that is still restrictive would affect the nation’s output.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi finished down 0.6% at 1,856.70 and Taiwan’s Taiex gave up 0.3% to 7,092.58.
Stock markets in Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore were among those closed for holidays.