Asian Markets rose Friday. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index climbed 1.1% to 9,536 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng advanced 1.1%, closing at 23,159. China's Shanghai Composite also gained 1.1%, ending the day at 2,978.
Debates are raging over whether Japan needs charitable financial help to recover, but one way money has been flowing into the country is in the form of foreign purchases of Japanese stocks as investors snap up hammered shares. According to Bloomberg, $11 billion in Japanese stocks were purchased by foreign investors in the week following the earthquake and tsunami. That's the highest amount recorded since 2005 when Japan's Ministry of Finance began keeping track.
Today's favorites included firms making construction machinery. IHI, which makes heavy machinery as well as nuclear plants and oil refineries, rocketed up 6.6% and Komatsu, a construction machinery maker, rose 4.7%. Comsys Holdings, which designs power and telecom facilities, surged 6.3%.
Japanese building and engineering companies retreated. Taisei, which developed the award-winning Hybrid Taisei Shake Suspension System (TASS) that uses rubber and a sliding mechanism to protect skyscrapers during earthquakes, tumbled 3.2%, Kajima slumped 3% and Obayashi slid 1.8%.
Shares in Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, were hit hard again after three workers struggling to re-connect power to the facility were hospitalized with radiation exposure. An official from Tokyo Electric Power said that two of the workers are being treated for radiation burns, admitting that they weren't wearing the correct attire including waterproof boots while working in a flooded area. He also explained that they had carried on their work after their radiation detectors had sounded alarms warning them to leave the area. Shares in Tokyo Electric sank 6.2%. Other nuclear-related firms also fell with Hitachi losing 5.1%.
In Hong Kong, shares in casino operator SMJ surged 5.9% after Stanley Ho redistributed nearly all of his shares in an attempt to resolve a family dispute. Bloomberg reports that Ho's family gets half of all the cash bet in Macau -- China's answer to Las Vegas -- where it runs a huge number of local casinos.
Banks were also on the move after Bank of China posted a 29% rise in annual net income. Shares rallied 2.6%. China Construction Bank advanced 2% and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China gained 1.9%.
In China, banking stocks also rose with China Minsheng climbing 1.5%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China up 1.1% and China Construction Bank up 1%.
A number of firms got a boost after reporting better-than-expected 2010 profits. Gree Electric Appliances shot up 6.4%, Beiqi Foton Motor zipped up 4.2% and Chongqing Brewery added 1%.