Monday February 19th


Asia trades mostly higher as markets in Greater China remain on holiday

The U.S. market will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day. Asian markets mostly rose on Monday after the U.S.'s S&P 500 extended its winning streak on Friday to six days. Markets in the Greater China region remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 428.96 points, or 1.97 percent, to 22,149.21, while the Topix index added 37.78 points, or 2.17 percent, to 1,775.15. South Korea's Kospi index added 20.99 points, or 0.87 percent, to 2,442.82. Oil prices hit their highest level in nearly two weeks on Monday, lifted by a global equity market recovery and tensions in the Middle East, although concerns of rising U.S. production tempered gains. European shares rose for a fourth straight session, with global stocks set for a sixth session of gains, following a sell-off triggered by fears of creeping inflation and higher borrowing costs. Brent crude was up 37 cents at $65.21 a barrel at 1034 GMT, after rising to an 11-day high of $65.45 a barrel earlier in the session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 54 cents at $62.22 a barrel, after earlier gaining as much as 1.4 percent to its highest since Feb. 7. Gold prices held steady on Monday as a wavering dollar and rising equity markets offset rising inflation expectations that have spurred recent safe-haven purchases of the metal. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,347.50 an ounce by 0824 GMT. The metal rose 2.4 percent last week in its best weekly gain in more than five months, as investors bought gold on fears of rising inflation in the United States. U.S. gold slipped 0.4 percent to $1,350 per ounce.