Stocks in Japan lead gains in Asia Pacific as S&P 500 sails to yet another record

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose in Thursday morning trade after the S&P 500 cruised to another record overnight stateside.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.35% in early trade as shares of Fast Retailing jumped more than 2.5%. The Topix index also gained 0.96%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.84%.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.88%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.21% higher.

On the economic data front, Australia’s trade data for July is expected to be out at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN. That would be followed by the anticipated release of a private survey of Chinese services sector activity in August, with the Caixin services PMI set to be out at about 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN Thursday.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1.5% to end its trading day at 3,580.84 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 1% higher at 12,056.44. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs, with the Nasdaq topping 12,000 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw its first close above 29,000 since February as it advanced 454.84 points, or 1.6%, to close at 29,100.50.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.683 following its bounce from levels below 92 seen earlier this week. 

The Japanese yen traded at 106.21 per dollar after weakening from levels around 106 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7324, having slipped yesterday from levels above $0.735.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.25% to $44.54 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.58% to $41.75 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Trade data for July at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • China: Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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