World markets up; Nikkei nears 5-year high

World markets up after G-20; Nikkei nears 5-year high as yen slides

Associated Press
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People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm showing Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock exchange surged 261.88 to 1,578.36 in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2013. Asian markets traded higher Monday, with Tokyo stock markets heading close to a five-year high after a meeting of global finance leaders lent support to Japan's aggressive monetary policy. The Nikkei index rose after a statement by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world's biggest economies appeared to give its blessing to aggressive credit-easing moves pushed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they were intended to stop prolonged deflation and support domestic demand. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- World markets rose higher Monday, with Tokyo stock markets heading close to a five-year high after a meeting of global finance leaders lent support to Japan's aggressive monetary policy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed 1.9 percent higher at 13,568.37, its highest close in nearly five years, after a statement by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world's biggest economies appeared to give its blessing to aggressive credit-easing moves pushed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they were intended to stop prolonged deflation and support domestic demand.

Japan's program has driven the value of the yen down by more than 20 percent against the dollar since October. On Monday, the first trading day after the Group of 20 meeting, the dollar was 0.3 percent higher at 99.69 yen. The last time it was above 100 yen was in April 2009.

The decline of the yen has stirred up concerns among Japanese exporters' key rivals, such as the U.S. and South Korea that Japan's real goal is to weaken the yen as a way to gain trade advantages. But officials at the G-20 meeting were reluctant to voice any opposition to the Bank of Japan's monetary stimulus program.

Japanese officials said they were pleased with the support they had received at the Washington meetings for their aggressive efforts to lift the world's third largest economy out of a two-decade slump.

"There has been international understanding" of our efforts, Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Bank of Japan, told reporters at the end of the meeting.

After the G-20 meeting, Samsung Securities in Seoul revised down its forecast of the yen's value against the U.S. dollar that the dollar will likely reach 105 yen at the end of this year.

"Contrary to the market's expectation, (the G-20 meeting) approved the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary easing," James Huh, economist at Samsung Securities, said in a report. "Expectations were high in the market that the G-20 statement would try to stop a steep decline of yen."

Expectations that the yen will further weaken sent shares of Japanese auto and tech exporters higher. Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 1.3 percent and Sharp Corp. rose 2.3 percent.

European stocks rose in early trading. Britain's FTSE rose 0.6 percent to 6,322.73. Germany's DAX added 0.6 percent to 7,501.06. France's CAC-40 edged up 0.3 percent to 3,660.79. U.S. markets were set to advance, with Dow Jones industrial futures rising 0.4 percent to 14,520. S&P 500 futures also rose 0.4 percent to 1,553.20.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi added 1 percent to 1,926.31. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.1 percent higher at 22,044.37. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 4,966.60. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand also advanced while shares in mainland China were mixed and Indonesia fell.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 4 cents to $88.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents to close at $88.01 on the NYMEX on Friday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3038 from $1.3059 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 99.74 yen from 99.56 yen.

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