Asian stock markets trended upward Monday, riding a global market rally and buoyed by news that Japan’s earthquake-battered economy shrank less than expected in the April to June period.
Japan’s gross domestic product contracted 0.3 percent over the three months as manufacturers struggled with the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But that was better than the 0.9 percent dip in the January to March period, and considerably better than market analysts had estimated.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index was up by almost two-thirds of one percent in early trading, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up almost 2 percent.
Global markets fluctuated wildly last week as investors, already rattled by Europe’s worsening debt crisis, reacted to the downgrading of U.S. government debt and concerns that the U.S. might be headed toward another recession.