Share Markets Rally To New Post-Crisis Highs
Japan's Nikkei share average has ended at a new 53-month high, taking the index to a level not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and helping buoy other markets.
The Nikkei climbed 2.6% to 12,283.62, its highest closing level since September 2008.
Meanwhile in London, the FTSE 100 was up 31.51 points, or 0.5%, at 6,470.67 points by 8.10am on Friday, hitting a new fresh five-year high.
Frankfurt's Dax index also broke through its 8,000-point mark for the first time since January 2008.
The FTSE 100 eased to close 0.7% up and the Dax closed 0.6% up.
"Markets are breaking higher. At this time it is pointless to fight the strong uptrend," Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar said.
"With so much support from central banks it's hard to see where the downside will come from."
The Tokyo-based index gained 5.8%, the biggest weekly gain since December 2011, with exporters and property shares the big winners.
Stocks have been helped by stronger US economy data, a weakening yen and ongoing optimism that aggressive easing will soon be adopted by the Bank of Japan's (BOJ's) new leadership.
The stocks were supported by lower-than-expected jobless claims data signalling further improvement in US employment, as well as the weaker yen which hit a 42-month low.
US non-farm payroll figures are expected to show encouraging signs when they are released later on Friday.
Global brands which scored big on the Nikkei in the week included Honda at 2.7%, Nissan at 3% and Toshiba's climb of 3.9%.
Markets have also been buoyed by China's exports, which jumped by a fifth in February from a year earlier - boosting shares and supporting base metal prices.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 1.41% higher on Friday.
Investors were bullish after the BOJ raised its outlook on Thursday, noting at the last meeting chaired by governor Masaaki Shirakawa that Japan's economy was "bottoming out".
Successor Haruhiko Kuroda, who is expected to implement aggressive quantitative easing, takes his place soon.
Equities have become an increasingly attractive proposition for many investors as central bank interest rates remain suppressed.
"An appetite for risky assets is rising as global shares such as US stocks are up and the yen is weak," Daiwa Securities analyst Yoshiyuki Kondo said.
"Investors think that they might lose if they don't buy Japan stocks now."
:: The Dow Jones index in Wall Street has seen a record-setting rally but the Bloomberg relative strength index has now approached the marker indicating prices will probably fall.