Asian markets climb after Dow tops 25,000 and as investors digest ECB comments

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Asian shares rose Thursday, with markets in Japan and South Korea notching convincing gains in early morning trade. That followed moves higher on Wall Street in the last session, which saw the Dow Jones industrial average close above 25,000.

The Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.69 percent in early morning trade as banking and financial sector stocks advanced. Automakers were also broadly higher as the yen continued to trade at the 110 handle to the dollar.

South Korean stocks saw similar gains, with the benchmark Kospi up 0.67 percent. Banks and steelmakers climbed, with Posco rising 3.26 percent. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics lagged the broader index, last trading higher by 0.19 percent.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up by 0.19 percent as the materials subindex led the move higher. Mining majors like Rio Tinto and BHP extended the last session’s gains, adding 1.77 percent and 1.62 percent, respectively. Utilities, however, traded lower.

Investors on Wednesday focused on the possibility of the European Central Bank’s asset purchasing program coming to an end after overnight comments from the central bank’s chief economist, Peter Praet.

Underlying strength in the euro area economy was making the central bank confident that inflation will move toward target, Praet said on Wednesday, adding that the institution would next week discuss how it will wind down its 30 billion euro (about $35 billion) monthly-purchase program.

The euro got a boost from those remarks, trading as high as $1.1796 overnight before paring some of those gains to trade at $1.1785 at 8:02 a.m. HK/SIN.

Those comments also saw European bonds sold off overnight. U.S. Treasury yields also rose on Wednesday, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield last standing at 2.97 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

The move higher in regional markets tracked the sharp gains seen on Wall Street in the previous session.

The Dow rose 1.4 percent, or 346.41 points, to 25,146.39, marking its first close above the 25,000 level since mid-March. Boeing, which advanced 3.2 percent in the last session, contributed the most to the index’s overall gains.

Other major U.S. stock indexes also closed higher as bank stocks rose.

Meanwhile, recent trade tensions remained in the background ahead of the G-7 summit at the end of the week. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, a former CNBC senior contributor, on Wednesday said President Donald Trump was trying to “fix” international trade, adding that the tensions were “disputes that need to be solved.”

On the energy front, U.S. West Texas Intermediate traded higher by 0.68 percent at $65.17 per barrel. Brent crude futures were 0.68 percent higher at $75.87.

Ahead, Australia trade data is scheduled to be released at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

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