Stock markets across Asia saw strong growth in 2006, reflecting Japan's steady economic recovery and the red-hot growth seen in China and India.
Japanese economic prospects are better than for some time
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed its last day of trading this year at 17,225.83, up 7% on 2005.
India's main Sensex Index, meanwhile, gained 46% in value in the past year - its fifth year of consecutive growth.
Analysts are generally optimistic about prospects for shares in 2007 despite concerns about the US economy.
Some believe Japan's Nikkei index could surpass the 20,000 mark in the coming year.
Optimism for 2007
Other markets across the region ended 2006 on a high note.
Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose to a record high of 5,684.4 before closing at 5,669.9, up 19% on the year.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed at 19,964.72, up 34.2% on the year.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 closed at 6220.8 in London, a gain of nearly 11% in 2006.
Japanese shares performed solidly over the past year, although the corporate scandal involving internet business Livedoor prompted a wave of selling in January.
In general, markets shrugged off the impact of soaring oil prices, which hit a record high of $78 a barrel in the middle of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.
But the weakness of the US dollar against other major currencies, in particular the yen, has made life more difficult for exporters such as Toyota and Canon.
Analysts are upbeat about prospects for 2007, despite concerns about the strength of the US economy and uncertainty over whether policymakers will further relax monetary policy.
The Bank of Japan raised interest rates to 0.25% earlier this year, bringing to an end five years of zero rates and marking the end of its long-term deflationary strategy.
Indian markets have had a stellar year
"I am bullish on next year," said Jun Morita, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.
"Even as investors worry about the US, Wall Street is likely to continue to post growth. Given that scenario, it is difficult to imagine a sell-off in Japanese stocks."
Confidence is also high in India, where the main Sensex index on the Mumbai Stock Exchange passed the 13,000 mark for the first time this year.
"The equities outlook remains strong in the year ahead, led by industrial growth and strong corporate earnings," said Manoj Kakaiya, a dealer with ULJK Securities.