MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian stocks rose in early trading Thursday, buoyed by a rise in U.S. stocks following an uptick in oil prices. A weakening of the Japanese yen pushed Tokyo's benchmark higher.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 2.0 percent to 17,236.37, as exporters' shares gained, since a weaker yen usually tends to boost their profits. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.8 percent to 21,610.86. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.1 percent to 2,976.02. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent to 5,339.10. South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.7 percent to 2,018.81. Southeast Asian markets were higher.
WALL STREET: Financial and energy companies led a modest increase in U.S. stocks Wednesday, giving the stock market its third gain in a row. The markets got a boost from a 4 percent climb in the price of oil. When oil prices rise they tend to favor battered energy stocks and financial companies such as banks, which have been in the doldrums due to investor concerns that loans to struggling oil companies could go bad. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,096.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.60 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,102.40. The Nasdaq composite index gained 7.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,948.13. The Dow is now up almost 4 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 is up about 3 percent. The Nasdaq narrowed its loss to 1.2 percent.
THE QUOTE: "Asian markets look set to follow Wall Street's lead today," said Alex Furber, CMC Markets' Senior Client Services Executive. "The Nikkei opened in the green, helped also by a weaker yen, whilst Australia's ASX 200 was also up at the open."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil shed 11 cents to 44.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a settlement of 44.18 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 17 cents to $45.97.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.1299 from $1.1303 on Wednesday. The dollar fell to 109.71 yen from 109.85 yen.