Asian stocks rose, lifting the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its first weekly gain in four weeks, as optimism on the global economy overcame concern about Greek finances. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.4%. Japan's markets were closed for a holiday yesterday, when the MSCI Asia Pacific, excluding the Japan Index, climbed the most since Feb. 3.
The Japanese yen has been the main beneficiary since late last month on increasing worries that the pace of global growth will slow and that problems plaguing Greece may spread to Spain and Portugal. As a result, speculators built record short EUR positions and went long on the JPY, pushing the island currency to recent highs.