Japanese shares ended the year on high note, with the benchmark Nikkiei index climbing more than 9% in 2015.The stock market’s rise over the year ranks it among the world’s best-performing major indexes.For the day, it closed up 0.3% to 19,033.71, taking the strong lead from Wall Street overnight.The index’s performance over the year was driven by the economic recovery in the US, a weaker yen, along with the Bank of Japan’s asset purchases.Japanese markets will be closed on Thursday for a public holiday.The rest of Asia also headed mostly higher, following US shares where rising oil prices led to a rebound in the market.
The S & P and the Dow Jones indexes both gained over 1% as oil prices rallied overnight to climb by around 3% after Monday’s declines.Encouraging economic data such as housing and consumer confidence in the US also boosted investor sentiment.In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1% to 5,319.9, hitting a two-month high and leading the gains in the region.The index also finished higher for the ninth consecutive session – marking its longest winning streak since January.
Chinese shares traded mixed. The Shanghai Composite closed up 0.3% at 3,572.88 points. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended down 0.5% at 21,882.15 points.Investors are looking ahead to manufacturing data due on Friday for clues on the extent of the slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.South Korea’s Kospi index closed down 0.3% to 1,961.31 on its final day of trading in 2015, but gained 2.4% for the year.Investors’ confidence was dented by data that showed industrial production saw its worst decline in 10 months in November on slumping global demand for exports.Factory output fell a seasonally adjusted 2.1% from a month earlier, according to Statistics Korea.