Asia stocks mostly higher; Nikkei at new 15-year highs – CNBC

Nikkei jumps 0.7%


Japan’s key Nikkei 225 index settled at a fresh 15-year high as the yen traded near the 119 handle.


Among blue-chip exporter stocks, Mitsubishi Electric and Toyota Motor piled on 0.8 and 0.6 percent, respectively, but Canon and Sony added 0.3 and 0.1 percent each. Toshiba erased gains to finish flat.


Airbag maker Takata underperformed the bourse with a slump of nearly 3 percent, after being slapped with a $14,000 per day fine by U.S. regulators for failing to fully cooperate with a probe into its faulty airbags, which have been linked to six deaths and dozens of injuries. Fanuc also fell 2.8 percent after activist investor Dan Loeb says the announcement of a 130 billion yen capital expenditure plan isn’t enough to fix the robot maker’s “blatant capital inefficiency.”


Meanwhile, three members of the Bank of Japan’s policy board expressed doubts the central bank can meet its inflation target due to falling oil prices, minutes from the BOJ’s last policy meeting showed.


Read MoreHyperinflation… in Japan?


ASX gains 0.5%


Australia’s benchmark S&P ASX 200 index closed up on Monday, remaining in sight of a seven-year high, on the back of buoyant banking majors. However, market attention remained squarely on corporate earnings releases.


Boart Longyear halved its full year loss to $333 million, but warns its earnings remain under pressure. Shares of the world’s biggest supplier of mine drilling services finished 5 percent higher. Construction group Lend Lease bounced 0.9 percent after posting a 25 percent improvement on its profits in the six months to December 31, supported by a positive residential housing market.


Among other companies reporting earnings, miner Bluescope Steel was the underperformer, down nearly 10 percent, despite delivering a 62 percent jump in its underlying half-year profit on the back of a weaker Australian dollar and stronger steel margins. A better-than-expected 48 percent rise in annual profit also failed to boost Caltex Australia, which dropped 0.2 percent.


Macmahon Holdings slumped 37.5 percent following news that the contractor lost $780 million worth of work at a Fortescue Metals mine.


Read MoreJapan pines for Australia’s yields


Asia stocks mostly higher; Nikkei at new 15-year highs – CNBC}

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