Asian markets rise as Japan exits recession

<p>Nikkei led gains in Asia, reaching an 8-year high.</p>

Asian markets traded higher today (February 16th), led by Japanese shares. The Nikkei reached an eight-year high after new data showed Japan emerged from recession in the final quarter of 2014. Gross domestic product grew an annualised 2.2 per cent.

Investors were still concerned about Greece's debt problem, but hoped a compromise will be reached during a meeting with eurozone finance ministers in Brussels later today. 

They will consider Greece's proposal for short-term "bridge financing" until a longer-term solution to Greece's debt is found. "People are starting to price in that Greece will not exit. Perhaps today won't be the last day of negotiations, but both sides have the potential to lose out big and markets understand that," Harmut Issel, head of Equity and Macro APAC at UBS, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia."

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed above the 18,000 level, its highest level since July 2007, jumping 0.5 per cent to 18,004.77. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 per cent to 3,222.36, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2 per cent to 24,726.50.

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