Asian trade: Global markets continue to advance at a strong pace, as some say the credit crisis might have hit a bottom. Asian markets rose again tonight, but U.S. futures have not moved so far.

The strong gains from the last period helped the Japanese index Topix rise the most in the last 16 years. The index rose more than 9% this week, the most since 1992, helped by much better than expected results and the market’s positive feedback to the Treasury’s toxic asset plan. The Topix is a weighted index of all the companies listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

At the same time, U.S. markets are set for the best month since 1974. The rally was fueled yesterday by Best Buy’s better than expected earnings, which were 15% higher than what analysts had estimated. Additionally, sources have said that GM might come to an agreement before the deadline with its debtors and with the union workers, something that might help the company avoid bankruptcy. GM rose 14% after the news. The S&P added 13% in March, which is an excellent return for such a short time-span.

The yield on the one-month Treasury bill turned negative yesterday for the first time since December. The yield was -0.04%, meaning that the lender would have to pay money to the borrower. Even though it does not make too much sense, this happened because of the quarter end, as banks prefer to hold their securities on the bank’s balance sheets, rather than sell them in the open market.

Tonight, the Nikkei rose 141.70 points (1.64%) to 8,778.03. The Australian S&P/Asx added 53.20 points (1.46%) to 3,699.80.

Crude oil moved very little in the new day of trading. Crude oil for April delivery declined $0.15 to $54.15.

Gold continues to decline during the Asian markets. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $7.90 to $934.30.