Nikkei breaks 24,000 for first time since 1991 as Asian markets build on gains


Asian stocks rose early Thursday, helped by strength in technology stocks and record highs on Wall Street overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei

NIK, +0.31%

  rose 0.5% and broke above 24,000 for the first time since November 1991, helped by the dollar’s rebound. The dollar

JPYUSD, -0.028749%

  ended a six-day losing streak against the yen Wednesday and was recently around ¥111.30, compared with ¥110.85 at the end of local stock trading Wednesday.

Tech companies TDK

6762, +2.33%

  and Rohm

6963, +3.74%

  rose about 4%.

Taiwan’s tech-heavy Taiex stock benchmark

Y9999, +0.63%

  opened up 0.8% and hit a 28-year high. South Korea’s Kospi

SEU, +0.24%

  rose 0.4% as Samsung Electronics

005930, +0.97%

  rebounded another 1.3%, putting the week’s jump at 4.3%. Samsung skidded 7.5% last week following its fourth-quarter update.

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

Australian stocks

XJO, +0.01%

  were little moved by news of strong jobs growth in December. The Aussie dollar fell to session lows as unemployment ticked up, which suggests that the Reserve Bank of Australia could keep putting off interest rate increases.

Markets will be watching for China’s fourth-quarter Chinese economic data later in the day. Asia’s largest economy is expected grow 6.7% compared with the same period a year ago, according to a Wall Street Journal polls of economists. 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%. The bond sales came after the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book pointed to tight labor markets and modest wage growth.

Bitcoin prices

BTCUSD, +1.71%

  have steadied around $11,000 in Asian trading after slumping below $10,000 on Wednesday. Oil prices rose slightly after data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, showed a fall in U.S. crude inventories.

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