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Asia: Markets edge up as investor sentiment calms

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[TOKYO] 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 per cent, or 288.76 points, to 22,009.01 at the break.

The broader Topix index was up 1.58 per cent, 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.

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"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 per cent to 7,340 yen and Nintendo was up 1.48 per cent to 46,520 yen.

Banks were also higher, with Mizuho up 1.91 per cent at 202.2 yen and Mitsubishi UFJ up 1.71 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent but trade in New Zealand was virtually flat, up just 0.01 per cent.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.85 per cent.

AFP