Nikkei hits fresh 26-year high; Fast Retailing soars

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THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent to 23,788.20 and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.4 percent to 2,499.75.

Crude oil prices hit new multi-year highs as OPEC-led production cuts and healthy demand helped to balance the market.

"This environment of strong global growth and contained inflation is actually great for Asian equities, including tech", said Ajay Kapur, head of Asia Pacific and global emerging market strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong.

The Chinese officials, who were not named, said the market for USA government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, according to the report.

While payrolls missed forecasts, the report was ideal for equities given unemployment stayed low but with little sign of the inflationary pressures that would make the Federal Reserve more aggressive in tightening policy.

The Dow rose 102.80 points or 0.4 percent to 25,385.80, the Nasdaq inched up 6.19 points or 0.1 percent to 7,163.58 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.58 points or 0.1 percent to 2,751.29.

The quarterly US earnings season kicks off this week with the Street expecting solid growth of around 10 percent, though many companies are also likely to be announcing one-off charges to account for recent tax changes. Given that China is a major buyer of U.S. Treasurys U.S. assets have taken a hit. In Asia, China reports December inflation on Wednesday and worldwide trade numbers on Friday.

CES 2018 | Nissan is working on cars that can read your mind
To use, the driver wears a device that measures brain activity, which is then analyzed by the vehicle's autonomous systems. Nissan would probably need some sort of less intrusive version if the technology was be practical for the market.

With economic activity picking up globally, the dollar has been undermined by expectations the Fed will not be the only central bank tightening policy this year.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped 0.3 percent to $1.1930 while the dollar fell 0.5 percent to 112.52 yen.

Japan's economy has been boosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Abenomics reform package and a rise in business investment.

Oil prices rose, with US prices touching their highest since December 2014, supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations that USA crude inventories have dropped for an eighth week.

Spot gold made a 3½-month high last week and was trading at $1,320.16 an ounce on Monday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 42 cents to $62.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, the worldwide standard, gained 35 cents to $68.13 per barrel.

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