Light Trading See Asian Shares Rise

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Asian stocks rose on Friday after U.S. shares extended their winning streak to five sessions overnight, shrugging off concerns over inflation and higher interest rates.

Trading volumes remained thin across Asia as markets in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Chinese markets are closed till February 21.

Japanese shares saw a relief rally after the government nominated Haruhiko Kuroda to serve a second five-year term as the head of the Bank of Japan, a signal that easy monetary policies will continue.

The Nikkei average ended 255.27 points or 1.19 percent higher at 21,720.25, taking the weekly gain to 1.6 percent. The broader Topix index closed 1.05 percent higher at 1,737.37, led by food and utility stocks.

Ajinomoto climbed 2 percent and Tokyo Electric Power advanced 4.4 percent. Exporters Toyota, Honda Motor, Sony and Panasonic rose 1-2 percent despite a stronger yen.

Inpex gained 0.8 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration added 0.7 percent after crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent overnight.

Australian shares closed marginally lower but ended the week with notable gains. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slid 5 points or 0.08 percent to 5,904, but the ended the week higher by more than 1 percent. The broader All Ordinaries index dropped 3.90 points to 6,004.80.

Miner South32 tumbled 5.1 percent amid brokerage downgrades in view of a softening outlook. Gold miner Newcrest lost 3.2 percent, a day after it reported a 58 percent slide in first-half underlying profit.

Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac fell between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent after RBA Governor said there's a little case for a near-term rate rise.

Healthcare stocks were in demand, with CSL rising 1.3 percent, Medibank Private climbing 3.6 percent and Primary Health Care rallying 3.4 percent.

Whitehaven Coal slumped 4.5 percent after the coal miner reaffirmed its lower full-year production guidance.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX-50 index climbed 61.98 points or 0.77 percent to 8,125.31 after the latest survey from Business NZ showed the country's manufacturing sector continued to expand in January, and at an accelerated pace with a PMI score of 55.6, up from 51.2 in December.

Auckland International Airport rallied 2.8 percent after its first-half profit rose 17 percent from last year. Tourism Holdings soared 6.5 percent to a record high after forming a joint venture with Thor Industries to buy a U.S.-based travel planning platform.

U.S. stocks extended their winning streak to five sessions on Thursday as investors took in their stride the possibility of more interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow rallied 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped as much as 1.6 percent and the S&P 500 advanced 1.2 percent.