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Asian shares rise as Japan’s Nikkei nears a record high

Hang Seng

Hang Seng index climbed 1.8% to 16,226.87, the Kospi added 1.1% to 2,642.14, S&P/ASX 200 jumped 0.7% to 7,658.40, SET added 0.6% and the Sensex edged up 0.4%

Shares gained in Asia on Friday, with Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index trading near a record high, 34 years after it peaked and then slumped with the collapse of Japan’s financial bubble.

U.S. futures were down after stocks on Wall Street set another record after some mixed reports on the economy.

The Nikkei 225 was up 1.1% at 38,591.90. It has been staying just below the record high of 38,915.87 that it set on December 29, 1989, right before a slump in share and property prices ushered in an era of slower, faltering growth.

Share prices have been pressing higher in spite of persisting signs of weakness in the Japanese economy, which fell into recession in the final quarter of last year. Attempts to sustain growth at higher levels have had limited success, undermined by weak private investment and consumer spending.

Changes to rules regarding tax-free investment accounts have accounted for some of the buildup in share prices. A weak yen has attracted bargain hunters, and Japanese markets also have profited from investors shifting out of Chinese markets.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.8% to 16,226.87 and the Kospi in Seoul added 1.1% to 2,642.14.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 0.7% to 7,658.40. Bangkok’s SET added 0.6% and the Sensex in India edged up 0.4%.

Taiwan’s Taiex shed 0.1% a day after surpassing a record high as major market mover TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), the world’s biggest computer chip maker, soared around 8%. That jump followed an upgrade by analysts of share price recommendations for Nvidia, whose main chip supplier is TSMC, due to expected growth in artificial intelligence.

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