The Nikkei 225 closed at 18,004.77 today for the first time since July 2007. Investors didn’t seem fazed by the disappointing GDP data, which posted a Q4 2.2% annualized growth versus a 3.7% forecast. Some key factors supporting today’s rally lie in the fact that GDP numbers are backward looking but also signal Japan’s exit from technical recession. Analyst have downplayed the data and will likely be more focused on this week’s trade balance for more clues on the Japanese recovery. Despite the news, the Yen remained fairly stable against the USD at 118.57.

In Europe the second attempt to conclude bailout negotiations is currently under way. The Euro ($1.1416) and equity markets are little changed as participants await the result with caution.

US Markets are closed today in observance of Presidents’ Day holiday.