Tokyo, Japan – Asian equities rallied on Friday after a positive slew of data boosted investor sentiment. Japan’s Nikkei rose by 1.5% on the back of better-than-expected wage data. The United States’ service sector also outperformed expectations, as the Institute for Supply Management’s index rose to 60.3, signaling strong growth in the industry.
Japanese wage data came in at 2% growth year-on-year, exceeding forecasts of 1.5%. This marks the fifth consecutive month of wage growth in Japan. Positive wage growth is viewed as a sign of economic stability and rising consumer confidence.
The strong service sector data in the United States is seen as another indication that the economy is continuing to recover from the pandemic. The industry accounts for approximately two-thirds of the country’s economic activity, making it a key barometer of economic health.
Investors also appear to be taking a positive view on the latest vaccine news. Drugmaker Pfizer announced that their Covid-19 vaccine demonstrated a 95% efficacy in preventing the disease and has been submitted to the FDA for approval.
“Investors are feeling buoyed by the positive data coming out of Japan and the United States, and the potential of a Covid-19 vaccine,” said analyst Sarah Tan. “However, there are still concerns over rising case numbers in some countries and the potential for a second wave of infections, so we will have to keep a close eye on developments.”
Other major Asian indices also rose, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up by 0.7% and South Korea’s Kospi up by 0.8%. European markets are expected to open higher following on from the positive lead from Asian markets.