TOKYO -- Stock prices are recovering worldwide as investors put money back into risk assets in light of steady economic trends in the U.S. and subsiding concerns over Ukraine and emerging markets.
On Thursday, the Nikkei Stock Average ended at 15,071.88, up 125.56 points from the previous day, with Honda Motor, Fanac and other global companies rising notably. In the foreign exchange market, the yen softened to the 104 yen level against the dollar.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed Wednesday, coming within 3 points of its all-time high. Germany's DAX index closed in on a record reached in January, and France's CAC 40 index reached the highest level in five and a half years.
Stocks in emerging markets like India and South Africa are also rallying. The MSCI World Index, which tracks global stock trends, has risen 8% from a low touched in February, and is now near its highest level since December 2007.
The political turmoil in Ukraine, which shook the market through mid-March, has not turned into an armed conflict or led to large-scale economic sanctions. And concerns over the Chinese economy are also easing after the country announced this week it would plow fresh economic stimulus into railway networks. Many observers now say a sudden economic slowdown is unlikely.
In addition, strong economic indicators in the U.S. are bolstering investors' confidence. Manufacturing orders and new-car sales both increased in March. Hopes are growing that the recovery in the U.S. economy will bolster the global economy.
Another positive factor is the prospect that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue its quantitative easing for the time being. Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested as much on Monday, saying the Fed has not scaled back its support of the labor market.
As a result, concern that money will flee emerging markets waned, bolstering the currencies of the so-called five fragile countries, including Turkey and Brazil.