[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 13:59 GMT
Asian markets ending year on high
Man passes electronic board showing Japanese share prices
Japanese economic prospects are better than for some time
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.

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.

I am bullish on next year
Jun Morita, Chibagin Asset Management

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.

Company profits

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.

Stockbrokers in Mumbai
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.

Japanese bosses show confidence
15 Dec 06 |  Business
Japanese economy suddenly slows
08 Dec 06 |  Business
Japan's economy looking healthy
01 Dec 06 |  Business
India's Sensex breaks 13,000 mark
30 Oct 06 |  Business
India's Sensex hits record high
05 Dec 06 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific