By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Japan stocks advanced to their best closing level in 15 years on Monday, extending a four-day winning streak, as markets tracked a rally in the U.S. equities at the end of last week.
The Nikkei Average (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) rose 0.7% to 18,466.92, the highest settlement since April 2000. The broader Topix (TOKYO:JP:180460) edged up 0.2%.
The yen (XTUP:USDJPY) weakened versus the greenback, trading at ¥119.23 from ¥119.07 late Friday in New York.
In Japan, top outperformers included electronics component supplier TDK Corporation (TKS:JP:6762) , jumping 2.4%, camera maker Olympus Corp. (TKS:JP:7733) , gaining 2.3%, rival Nikon Corp. (TKS:JP:7731) , adding 1.1%, and auto maker Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (TKS:JP:7201) , up 1.5%.
However, auto-parts provider Takata Corporation fell 2.6%, after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would fine the company $14,000 per day for failing to fully cooperate with the agency’s probe into its defective air bags.
Other Asian markets also recorded broad gains. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) finished up 0.5%, and Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index (KOREA:KR:180721) settled 0.4% higher.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong stocks seesawed in their post-holiday return, with the Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI) ending up less than 0.1%.
Mainland Chinese stocks markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year. They were due to reopen on Wednesday.