News Article

Stocks rise in Japan, Australia as most Asian markets remain closed for holiday

Shares advanced in Asia on Wednesday following a rally on Wall Street led by technology companies. There was little if any immediate reaction to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% early Wednesday. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 also climbed 0.5%. Markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and most of Southeast Asia were closed for lunar new year holidays.

Among individual stocks, Yamaha Corp. and Panasonic rose while NTT Data, Nintendo and Sony were among the biggest decliners. A day after surging, Australian bank stocks slid back, with ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac declining.

Read: Chief of Australia’s central bank says rate changes may lie ahead

The overnight rally in U.S. markets, supported by strong corporate earnings, extended the benchmark S&P 500 index’s winning streak to five days.

More than 68% of companies reporting earnings in the S&P 500 beat analyst forecasts during the most recent quarter. Those results, in part, helped drive the market’s best January in 32 years.

Positive sentiment has been supported by reports from Washington, citing unnamed sources, that say U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin plan to travel to Beijing next week for the next round of talks aimed at resolving trade and technology-related disputes that have led to both sides imposing tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s products.

The S&P 500 index added 0.5% to 2,737.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% to 25,411.52. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 0.7% to 7,402.08.

U.S. crude oil added 7 cents to $53.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 1.6 percent to settle at $53.66 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 4 cents to $62.02 per barrel. It slid 0.8 percent to close at $61.98 per barrel in London.

The dollar slipped to 109.80 yen from 109.96 yen on Tuesday.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.

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