Japanese shares lead global rally on strong US lead

Tokyo street scene Image copyright Getty Images

(Close): Japanese shares rose on a strong lead from Wall Street, and other Asian markets also saw strong gains.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped to finish the day 4.1% up, at 16,746.55 points, the highest point for the index in just over three weeks.

Earlier, US markets had risen on oil prices and strong economic data, suggesting the world's biggest economy was regaining momentum.

Japan's exporters were among the best performers on the Nikkei trading floor.

Electronics giants Sony and Panasonic led the pack, gaining about 5% and 7% respectively.

Strong Australia growth

With Australia's fourth quarter growth beating expectations, the ASX/200 rose 2% to close the day at 5,021.20 points.

The country's economy grew by 3% in the three months to December compared with a year earlier.

Household consumption, construction and public spending were the main factors driving the better-than-expected growth.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption What slump? Australia beats expectations

Shares in commodity giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton rose by 4.7% and 4.37% respectively.

Moody's cuts China outlook

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed the session up 3.07% at 20,003.49, extending the global rally as investor sentiment brightened on the improved US economic data.

China's mainland benchmark Shanghai Composite also followed the upbeat regional trend and finished the trading day up 4.26% to 2,849.68.

Investor sentiment remained unfazed by US ratings agency Moody's decision to cut its outlook for China from stable to negative.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index finished up 1.6% at 1,947.42 points.

Car makers Hyundai and Kia also rose, boosted by strong sales figures from the US.

Joint sales figures of the affiliated car markers rose by 6.4% in the US in February.

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