Asian shares gained considerable ground on Monday, buoyed by Wall Street gains on Friday and supported by a stream of positive data from Japan and China showing Chinese fixed asset investments growing by 10.2% in January and February compared to the same period last year, leading China's Shanghai index 2.63% higher and restoring some confidence in the world's second largest economy.
From Japan, core machinery orders surged 15.0 m/m in January, smashing expectations of a 2.0% growth, and compared to December's 4.2% rise. Japan's Nikkei index climbed 1.76% to 17,236, a six-week high. Australian shares similarly advanced 0.37% to a ten-week peak.
Copper, an industrial metal highly, drew support from China's gains, with the futures gaining more than one percent to trade at $2.261 a pound, a six-day high, while silver futures added nine cents, or 0.57% to hover around $15.63 an ounce. Gold however recorded losses, sliding two dollars, or 0.16% to $1,257 an ounce.
The dollar index, which measures the currency's performance against a basket of rival currencies, was flat today at 96.25, not far from one-month low hit last week at 95.94, while the euro rose 0.10% to hover around 1.1159. Sterling edged down 0.05% versus the greenback to trade at 1.4376.
Oil prices were mixed, with Brent crude futures inching up 0.10%, or three cents to trade at $40.42 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures skidded 20 cents, or half a percentage to $38.33 a barrel.
Investors wait for industrial production data from the Eurozone, expected to have grown a brisk 1.7% m/m in January, recovering from December's 1.0% tumble, which would be positive for the common currency in the short term.