Japan leads world stock markets higher on stimulus hope

HONG KONG – Japanese stocks jumped again, leading gains in world markets Tuesday as investors remained hopeful about the prospects of more stimuli following a stronger-than-expected election victory by the country’s ruling coalition.

KEEPING SCORE: European stocks were off to a strong start, with France’s CAC 40 rising 1.3 per cent to 4,321.87 and Germany’s DAX adding 1.2 per cent to 9,955.73. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 per cent to 6,695.74. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.5 per cent to 18,236.00 and broader S&P 500 futures advancing 0.5 per cent to 2,141.10.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 2.5 per cent to close at 16,095.65 a day after soaring 4 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.1 per cent to end at 1,991.23 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.7 per cent to finish at 21,224.74. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China advanced 1.8 per cent to 3,049.38 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 per cent to 5,353.20. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also posted gains.

JAPAN SENTIMENT: Investors continue to feel bullish after results on Monday showed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which heads the ruling coalition, emerged victorious from parliamentary elections. Abe has promised new government spending to help aggressively jolt Asia’s second-biggest economy back to life. While he has released few details, investors are betting he’ll keep flooding the markets with money by expanding bond purchases using newly printed money in a program known as quantitative easing.

THE QUOTE: “Abe has always been supportive of quantitative easing, thus his victory has brought more hope to the market that we will probably see a new round of ‘Abenomics’ soon,” said Margaret Yang of CMC Markets in Singapore.

POKEMON POWER: Shares of Nintendo Co. jumped 12.7 per cent in Tokyo, fueled by the craze for “Pokemon Go,” a smartphone game based on the video game maker’s characters that’s become the top grossing app in the iPhone store less than a week after its release in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. The “augmented reality” game layers gameplay onto the physical world, letting players wander the physical world in search of digital monsters.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 57 cents to $45.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 65 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to close at $44.76 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, rose 73 cents to $46.98 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 103.38 yen from 102.61 yen in late trading Monday. The euro rose to $1.1112 from $1.1060.