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Nikkei, Shanghai Comp hit new highs on US lead

Equity markets in Tokyo and Shanghai outperformed the region to scale fresh multi-year highs early Monday, drawing strength from a strong finish on Wall Street last week.

US stocks jumped about 1 percent to close near intra-day highs on Friday following a pullback in the US dollar. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index closed up 0.9 percent each, while the Nasdaq gained 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister and founding father of Singapore, passed away at age 91 on Sunday, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. The benchmark Straits Times index drifted 0.4 percent higher to a near four-week high and the Singapore dollar last traded at 1.3792 per dollar.

Nikkei jumps 1 percent

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index touched a fresh 15-year high as a strong finish on Wall Street offset the impact of a rangebound yen.

Sharp surged 3.8 percent, boosted by news that Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry is considering joining efforts to help rescue it. Among other exporter plays, Suzuki Motor and Nintendo leaped more than 4 percent each, while blue-chip Toyota Motor rose 1.2 percent.

Mainland indices up

China’s Shanghai Composite charged up 0.9 percent to its highest level since May 2008 amid a broad-based rally.

Property developers were among the top gainers in early trade, with China Merchants Property advancing 5.7 percent. Gemdale and Poly Real Estate climbed more than 3 percent each. China’s largest brokerage Huatai Securities also jumped 2.6 percent.

Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng index edged up 0.4 percent as corporate earnings remain in play.

Electronics retailer Gome opened up 1 percent, while mainland developer Sunac China gained 3.7 percent ahead of their corporate report cards today.

ASX sheds 0.2 percent

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 index fluctuated between gains and losses to hover near the 6,000 mark last touched more than seven years ago.

Mining and banking heavyweights were mixed; Fortescue Metals led losses in the resources space with a slump of 1.1 percent, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank slipped 0.6 and 0.2 percent each.

The top performer in early trade was Premier Investments, which rallied 11 percent, after delivering a 9 percent rise in first-half profit, in line with expectations.

Kospi adds 0.2 percent

South Korea’s Kospi index rebounded in mid-morning trade as most blue-chip stocks turned positive. KB Financial Group and Kepco bounced up 0.3 and 0.6 percent, respectively, while Hyundai Motor held on to a 2.2 percent loss.

SK Telecom tanked 1 percent following an announcement last Friday that it plans to acquire the remaining 49.4 percent stake in Kosdaq-listed SK Broadband. Shares of the internet services provider fell 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Asiana Airlines plunged 2.2 percent on news that the country’s budget airlines have submitted a petition against its move to establish a second low-cost carrier this year.

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