Mubarak’s resignation eases Asian investors’ fears

2011-02-14 09:02

Tokyo – Asian stock markets rose in early trading today as the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak eased investors’ worries over political instability in the Arab world’s biggest nation.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average climbed 0.7% to 10 675.30.

Australia’s S&P/ASX index was up 0.9% at 5 013.30. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.9% to 1 995.61. Shares in New Zealand and Singapore were also higher.

Sentiment was upbeat across Asia as investors were relieved by the departure of 82-year-old Mubarak, who surrendered power to the military on Friday after an 18-day uprising by millions of protesters.

Investors had been worried during the nearly three weeks of anti-government demonstrations that the unrest in Egypt could spread to countries like Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest exporters of oil.

In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4% to 12 273.26, its highest finish since June 2008, as investors took heart from Mubarak’s departure following his nearly 30-year authoritarian rule.

In Tokyo today, Japan’s government said its economy stumbled in the last three months of the year, contracting for the first time in five quarters.

Japan’s gross domestic product shrunk at an annualised rate of 1.1% in the October-December period, a sharp reversal from a revised 3.3% expansion in the third quarter, the government said.

But investors shrugged off the growth contraction data as the result was better than Kyodo news agency’s average market forecast of an annualised 2.2% decline.

In currencies, the dollar slipped to ¥83.23 in Tokyo from ¥83.40 in New York late on Friday.

The euro was quoted at $1.3526 from $1.3551.

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