Asia markets edge up as investor sentiment calms



Asian stock markets edged up in thin holiday trade on Monday, with investors buoyed by gains on Wall Street despite ongoing concern about volatility.

Tokyo followed Wall Street's narrowly positive close, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index up 1.33 percent, or 288.76 points, to 22,009.01 at the break.

The broader Topix index was up 1.58 percent, or 27.40 points, at 1,764.77.

However, trading was generally subdued in the region as many major markets, including in China and Hong Kong remain closed for the Lunar New Year break.

"Japanese stocks this week will likely test a rebound" from sharp drops earlier in the month, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

"Given falling volatility both in Japan and in the United States, we can expect a calm market," it said.

Among major individual Japanese stocks, Toyota gained 1.83 percent to 7,340 yen and Nintendo was up 1.48 percent to 46,520 yen.

Banks were also higher, with Mizuho up 1.91 percent at 202.2 yen and Mitsubishi UFJ up 1.71 percent at 789.8 yen.

Asian markets took their lead from a relatively positive end to the week in the US and Europe, with the Dow squeezing out a positive close, up 0.1 percent to 25,219.38.

It was the sixth straight positive close for the blue-chip index as it notched up its best weekly gain since November 2016.

European stocks were also broadly higher, with analysts saying trader optimism was rising, encouraging investors to jump back in after last week's dizzying falls.

In the markets that were open in Asia, the Australian ASX was up 0.46 percent but trade in New Zealand was virtually flat, up just 0.01 percent.

South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.85 percent.

**Key figures around 0230 GMT **

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.33 percent at 22,009.01 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for a public holiday

Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a public holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2430 from $1.2410

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4046 from $1.4023

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.18 yen from 106.25 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 69 cents at $62.37 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 41 cents at $65.25 per barrel

New York - DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 25,219.38 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,294.70 points (close)