Asia-Pacific Shares Lifted by Tech Stocks, Chinese Banks -- Update

By Gregor Stuart HunterFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Asia-Pacific stocks were higher Thursday, aided by strength in Chinese banks and regional tech companies, after equities hit fresh record highs on Wall Street overnight.

Hong Kong stocks were 0.4% higher and benchmarks on the mainland logged similar gains. Bank stocks in China rose after data showed housing prices rose last month in 57 of 70 cities measured by the National Bureau of Statistics.

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On the tech front, Taiwan's Taiex benchmark was recently up 0.7%, hitting a 28-year high, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3%. Samsung Electronics rebounded 1.1%, putting the week's gain at 4%.

In Japan, with tech companies TDK up 2.5% and Rohm rising nearly 4%, the Nikkei Stock Average finished the morning session up 0.5% after breaching 24000 for the first time since November 1991.

The U.S. dollar was rebounding Thursday. It ended a six-day losing streak against the yen Wednesday and was recently around Yen111.35, compared with Yen110.85 at the end of local stock trading yesterday.

"We have seen the bulls showing their complete dominance again," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets.

Australian stocks weren't moved by news of strong job growth in December, though the local currency fell as unemployment ticked higher. That suggests the central bank could continue to put off rate increases.

Later Thursday, China will report fourth-quarter economic growth data. According to a poll of economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal, China's economy is expected to have grown by 6.7% in the final quarter of 2017. It grew 6.8% in the third quarter.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on U.S. Treasurys after the 10-year yield hit fresh 10-month highs and nearly breached 2.6% on Wednesday. That followed the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report that pointed to tight labor markets and modest wage growth.

Bitcoin prices have steadied at around $11,000 after slumping below $10,000 on Wednesday. Oil prices rose about 0.3% in Asia after data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, showed a fall in U.S. crude inventories.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 17, 2018 22:14 ET (03:14 GMT)