Tokyo's Nikkei 225 briefly broke 30,000 for the first time in five months on growing expectations for a fresh injection of stimulus after Japan's prime minister said he would step aside, paving the way for a new big-spending successor
The broad gains put the region on course to end a strong week on a positive note as concerns about the fast-spreading Delta variant, which weighed on confidence for much of August, gave way to optimism over the recovery outlook
But Asia struggled to follow suit with most markets swinging in and out of positive territory. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei and Manila were all in the red but Singapore and Jakarta edged up.
"The mega-cap sectors and stocks that benefitted from the Covid-19 pandemic stay-at-home (SAH) environment, weak economic activity, and new lows in fixed income yields have been giving way" to the recovery theme, said Canaccord Genuity equity strategist Tony Dwyer, adding the selling could worsen.