| GEO Business|
Tokyo, Sydney stocks climb despite Egypt fears
| Updated at: 1056 PST, Friday, February 04, 2011|
HONG KONG: Australian and Japanese stocks pushed higher on Friday on positive signals from both economies, even as rising uncertainty about Egypt kept oil prices around the $100 mark.
With most other Asian stock markets closed for Lunar New Year, Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.86 percent, while Tokyo's Nikkei was up 1.14 percent.
Japanese stocks were boosted by news of a planned merger between the country's largest steel-maker Nippon Steel and third-ranked Sumitomo Metal Industries, which would create the world's second-largest steel firm.
Sydney meanwhile was supported by relatively positive comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The central bank said it would "look through" the effects on the economy of catastrophic floods in December and January, keeping policy focused on containing the country's mining boom and a rapidly tightening labour market.
The RBA's February monetary policy statement said economic growth would be weaker in the near-term due to the impact of the floods, but come back strongly in the second half of 2011 as rebuilding efforts in Queensland gather momentum, mining investment grows and commodity prices remain elevated.
Traders generally were looking ahead to January jobs data from the United States, due out later Friday, for cues on the health of the global economy.