Australian equities traded at the highest level in nearly three years on Monday with several Asian equity markets closed for public holidays.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1% as of 12:41 p.m. in Sydney to the highest level since April 2010, with a positive earnings report from retailer HB Hi-Fi Ltd. helping to boost retail stocks. Stock markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and Seoul were among those closed today for the Lunar New Year holiday. Japanese markets were also shut for a public holiday.
Key stock indexes in the Philippines and Indonesia also climbed while markets in Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam were closed for holidays.
European finance leaders are meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss aid to Cyprus and Greece as a tightening election contest in Italy and a political scandal in Spain shake up markets.
JB Hi-Fi surged 15.4% after reporting its first half net profit had risen 3% to $84.6 million. David Jones rose 3.6% and Myer Holdings added 3.1%.
Meanwhile, the euro fell 0.1% to 123.81 yen and held a three day decline against the US dollar. Japan’s currency gained against most of its major counterparts, extending a rally from last week when Finance Minister Taro Aso said the rate of the yen’s fall was too fast.