Tokyo, Japan (BBN) – Asian markets traded mostly higher Thursday, tracking gains in the US where the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 21,000 on the back of President Donald Trump’s speech to lawmakers.
The Nikkei 225 jumped 1.29 per cent in morning trade, while the Topix gained 1.19 per cent, reports CNBC.
Japanese banks rallied, with Mitsubishi UFJ up 3.29 per cent, SMFG adding 1.71 per cent and Mizuho gaining 1.95 per cent.
Exporters also advanced, boosted by a relatively weaker yen. Major automakers posted gains: Toyota was up 0.48 percent, Nissan was higher by 1.2 per cent and Honda added 1.31 per cent.
The yen traded at 114.00 to the dollar at 10:53 a.m. HK/SIN, weakening from levels below 112.0 reached earlier this week.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi gained 0.36 per cent after South Korean markets were closed Wednesday for a public holiday.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.25 per cent.
Chinese mainland markets fell behind their regional peers; the Shanghai composite was down 0.19 per cent, and the Shenzhen composite fell 0.28 per cent.
In Australia, the ASX 200 was up 1.14 per cent in afternoon trade, with the four major banks gaining more than 1 per cent each.
Shares of ANZ rose 1.13 per cent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was up 1.24 per cent, Westpac added 1.27 per cent and the National Australia Bank gained 1.25 per cent.
“The US president’s re-iteration of a commitment to a massive infrastructure spend and tax reform inspired gains,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
He added, “The US rally is all the more remarkable as interest rate markets responded to Fed speak of a potential lift at the March meeting.”
In the currency market, the dollar index last traded up at 101.93, climbing from levels near 101.23 previously.
The Australian dollar fell 0.29 per cent to $0.7652, while the euro traded at $1.0529.
Oil prices declined Thursday, with US crude down 0.22 per cent at $53.71 a barrel and the global benchmark Brent declining 0.1 per cent to $56.31.
Gold prices fell on the back of a stronger dollar, with spot gold down 0.23 per cent at $1,246.03 an ounce.
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note that a break from the $1,246 level should “see more selling emerge as short term traders head for the door.”
He added that stronger equities, the possibility of the Fed raising interest rates in March and dollar strength are weighing on gold’s appeal.