Japan leads Asian shares higher, buoyed by Wall St record

Kimono-clad women pose for photographers in front of stock prices board after a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Kimono-clad employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and models walk out from the stage during a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Kimono-clad employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and models pose for photographers after a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Workers of Tokyo Stock Exchange monitor stock prices on an electric screen during the first trading session of the year at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Visitors stand near an electronic stock board showing a trading figure at Tokyo Stock Exchange a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Staff of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and guests make a ceremonial hand-clapping during a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Kimono-clad employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and models pose for photographers in front of stock prices board after a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO — Asian shares were mostly higher on Thursday, led by Japan, on optimism over the coming year that pushed Wall Street to new record highs. Shares fell in South Korea despite signs tensions with its rival in North Korea may be easing.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 2.5 percent to 23,337.47 during the celebratory first trading session of the year, when female employees of the Tokyo exchange appear in colorful kimono. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent to 6,077.70. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.6 percent to 2,470.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 30,698.54, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent to 3,382.91. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

WALL STREET: Big gains for technology and health care companies helped U.S. stocks set records again. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.6 percent to 2,713.06. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.4 percent to 24,922.68 and the Nasdaq composite surged 0.8 percent to 7,065.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 0.2 percent to 1,552.58. All four finished at record highs.

NORTH KOREA: Shares fell in South Korea on selling of automaker stocks despite surprise overtures from Pyongyang suggesting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may seek better ties with the south. Seoul quickly offered to meet and talk, and the two sides made preliminary contact on a newly reopened cross-border communication channel. It was unclear if those moves will vanquish the shadow cast over the region by North Korea's missile launches and its strongest-ever nuclear bomb test.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $61.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added $1.26, or 2.1 percent, to $61.63 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 12 cents to $67.96 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.36 yen. The euro was flat at $1.2014.

____

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay, who contributed to this report, can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt

Follow AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

Must Read

Global markets mixed after Wall Street loss

Dec 23, 2016

Asian markets are mostly lower while Europe has gained in early trading ahead of the Christmas...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

World stocks turn lower as investors monitor volatile dollar

Jan 18, 2017

World stocks are mostly lower after a sharp drop in the dollar sapped investor enthusiasm

Global stocks slip amid concern over Trump policies on trade

Jan 23, 2017

Major global stock markets are lower after Donald Trump took office as U.S. president and promised...

Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street ends little changed

Feb 3, 2017

Asian stocks are mixed after Wall Street ended little changed as China and other exchanges that...

People also read these

McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up to $2.1B

Jan 9, 2017

Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

Business group: China preparing to retaliate on trade

Jan 18, 2017

An American business group says China is preparing to retaliate if U.S. President-elect Donald...

World stocks turn lower as investors monitor volatile dollar

Jan 18, 2017

World stocks are mostly lower after a sharp drop in the dollar sapped investor enthusiasm

China faces political conflicts in moves to cut debt burden

Jan 25, 2017

Chinese leaders face conflicting political pressures as they begin tackling a swelling mountain of...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales@aseancoverage.com