Asian shares up, Nikkei tops 27,000 after Trump OKs stimulus

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A currency trader walks by the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Stocks rose Tuesday in Asia after closing at record highs on Wall Street. Japans Nikkei 225 index breached a nearly 30-year high after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion economic aid package on Monday, helping to staunch uncertainty as governments reimpose pandemic restrictions to fight rising coronavirus caseloads. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BEIJING – Stocks rose Tuesday in Asia after closing at record highs on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index breached a nearly 30-year high after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion economic aid package on Monday, helping to staunch uncertainty as governments reimpose pandemic-fighting travel and business curbs that threaten to weigh on global economic activity.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.6% to 27,292.37, the first time it has traded above 27,000 since April 1991. The market hit its all-time peak close of 38,915.87 on Dec. 29, 1989.

The benchmark was buoyed by strong gains in heavyweights like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which surged 6%, apparel maker Fast Retailing , up 2.9% and technology and energy company SoftBank, which gained 3.4%.

Other Asian shares were also mostly higher.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1% to 26,586.76 and in South Korea, the Kospi was little changed at 2,811.20. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.5% to 6,696.30 and the Shanghai Composite index was flat, at 3,395.89.

Trading is thinning as tumultuous 2020 draws to a close. But after nosediving in March as the pandemic took hold, share prices have more than recovered, helped by massive infusions of central bank cash and ultra-low interest rates, which make shares potentially more lucrative than other investments.

Investors have gained confidence with the rollouts of coronavirus vaccinations they hope will pave the way for a return to normal activity in coming months.