By Matt Smith, CNN • Updated 24th June 2017
Asian shares were marginally higher Friday, helping the Tokyo stock market post its highest close in two years.
The Japanese bourse took some encouragement from the fact that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a big majority in the upper house of parliament in Sunday’s general election.
The Kospi index rose 0.5% in early trade, while the Hang Seng was also up 0.4%. The Kospi closed 0.5% higher, while the Hang Seng ended higher by 0.2%.
BHP Billiton shares, which dropped sharply on Thursday as concern grew over its iron ore business, bounced 3% in early trade in Australia.
Market watchers worry that a plunge in iron ore prices has led to a sharp drop in profitability at the company, which could curb its ability to fund its dividend payouts.
“BHP Billiton’s shares are back on investors’ radars after Thursday’s 13% fall, with investors now focusing on when the company’s management will announce further measures to revitalize the iron ore business,” National Australia Bank analyst Ross Barker said in a note.
New York indexes posted mixed results on Thursday. The S&P 500 was up 0.05%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat and the Nasdaq slid 0.5%.
After Thursday’s close, both U.S. indexes logged their first declines of the week, while the Stoxx Europe 600 dipped 0.1%.
More about Asian markets: Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.7% to close at its highest level since the end of June 2015. China’s Shanghai Composite inched higher after Thursday’s 4.4% fall.