LONDON (ShareCast) - Stocks in Japan (EUREX: FMJP.EX - news) rose to an eight-month high on Thursday as investors increasingly bet on aggressive easing measures after Japan's elections on Sunday.
Opposition leader Shinzo Abe is widely expected to take power amid calls for the Bank of Japan to take more action to restore growth in the world's third largest economy.
Abe has said that if he is elected, he will ask Japan's central bank to increase its stimulus measures.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 (Osaka: ^N225 - news) index closed up 1% or 161 points at 9,742 while the broader Topix settled up 1% to settle at 799. The Hang Seng retreated 57 points at 22,445.
Exporters were the day's biggest gainers as risk appetite picked up and as the dollar rose above the ¥83 mark.
Sharp bounced 6.4%, Sony (Other OTC: SNEJF.PK - news) rallied 6.3% while surged 6.4% in Tokyo.
Car giant Honda added 2.8% despite news of a vehicle recall at its Canadian unit. Peers Toyota added 1.2% and Mazda surged 4%.
Panasonic (Berlin: MAT1.BE - news) was another strong riser on news that it will bulk up overseas production of solar panels.
Meanwhile investors also mulled the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates at near-zero at least until the US jobless rate falls below 6.5%. It also announced it continue to buy $85bn of assets each month.
Resource (Shenzhen: 399319.SZ - news) stocks in Hong Kong came under pressure on Thursday, as profit takers moved in. Shares of oil giant PetroChina were among the decliners, off 0.6% after recent gains.
Elsewhere gold miner Zhaojin Mining Industry tumbled 2.5%
Banking giant ICBC (HKSE: 0349.HK - news) was the biggest decliner, down 1.3% in Hong Kong.