ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Achieve Milestones As Monthlong Rally Continues

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nikkei closes at 21-year peak

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The Nikkei Stock Average hit a two-decade closing high on Wednesday, a milestone for the nation's long-suffering stock market, driven by stronger earnings, an improved economy and a better environment for shareholders.

The Nikkei rose 57.76 points to finish at 20,881.27, its highest close since December 1996 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japans-nikkei-closes-at-highest-level-in-20-years-2017-10-11).

The markets seem to be comfortable with the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to remain on its rate-increase path, as it signals confidence that the economy there is accelerating, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Though European and American investors could pull capital from Asia, the region's underlying fundamentals are pretty strong, he added, with valuations "much less stretched."

Leading the way Wednesday was Taiwan, where trading resumed following a four-day holiday. The Taiex quickly caught up, ending 1% higher. The benchmark, dominated by tech names, had suffered a bit of a glitch late last quarter as worries developed about initial sales of Apple's (AAPL) latest iPhones.

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Tech also continued to boost South Korea's stock market, with the Kospi up 1%. Samsung (005930.SE) gained nearly 4%; for the year, it is now up 52%.

The Nikkei has jumped 7% in the past month.

An Oct. 22 snap election, announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 25, is expected to keep his ruling coalition in charge.

Australian stocks rose further after a Tuesday pause ended a solid two-day rebound, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6%. The country's big banks gained and there was a bounce in oil-related stocks after an overnight rebound in crude prices. Oil futures rose slightly further in Asian trading Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark rose 0.3%, nabbing a record-setting seventh-straight all-time closing high.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 05:11 ET (09:11 GMT)