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Asia: Stocks climb after Wall St record, eyes on Greek talks
[HONG KONG] Asian markets advanced on Monday following a record close on Wall Street, while Greece's leadership said it was upbeat that it could hammer out a new debt deal with its European creditors.
Japanese shares were supported by data showing the economy had exited recession, although gains were tempered as it grew at a slower pace than expected.
Tokyo was up 0.66 per cent by the break. Hong Kong added 0.14 per cent in morning trade, Sydney was flat, Shanghai put on 0.10 per cent and Seoul was 0.10 per cent higher.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will Monday meet his counterparts from the eurozone in Brussels to get their backing for an overhaul of the austerity-laden bailout, which Athens says has crippled the country's economy.
While it faces stern opposition, mostly from key European paymaster Germany, Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras say they are confident they can win over sceptics.
Global markets are hoping a deal can be reached before the end of the month, when Greece's bailout is due to expire. Failure to agree an extension would see it default on its giant debts and likely mean it would crash out of the eurozone.
Regional investors were given a strong lead from New York, where the S&P 500 ended at a new record following data showing Germany's economy expanded more than expected in the final three months of 2014.
The S&P 500 rose 0.41 per cent, while the Dow added 0.26 per cent to break 18,000 for the first time this year. The Nasdaq advanced 0.75 per cent.
Japan's Nikkei was also supported by news the economy grew 0.6 per cent - or an annualised rate of 2.2 per cent - in the three months to December.
While the rate was slower than the 0.9 per cent expected, it comes after the world's third-largest economy had contracted for a second straight quarter in July-September.
"Even though it missed estimates, the figures are positive which means at least the direction of the recovery is right," Ayako Sera, a markets strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News.
"I would say the data today is mixed. People haven't completely lost hope on growth." On currency markets the dollar fetched 118.60 yen, against 118.74 yen in New York.
The euro was at US$1.1408 and 135.27 yen compared with US$1.1393 and 135.29 yen.
Oil prices edged higher as dealers cheered signs of reduced crude production following figures last week that showed a further drop in drilling activity.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery gained 15 cents to US$52.93 while Brent for April rose 13 cents to US$61.65.
Gold fetched US$1,230.21 an ounce, against US$1,225.23 on Friday.