Asia follows Wall Street higher, upbeat U.S. data lifts dollar


By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO Asia stocks followed Wall Street higher early on Wednesday, while the dollar firmed against major peers such as the yen following the release of upbeat U.S. economic data overnight.

Crude oil prices held large gains on expectations of supply tightening once oil-producing nations implement a scheduled output cut.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.2 percent.

Australian stocks were up 0.9 percent. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was little changed.

U.S. stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, supported by upbeat consumer and housing data, with gains in technology shares lifting the Nasdaq Composite to a record close.

The dollar was a shade higher at 117.500 yen JPY=, having gained about 0.3 percent the previous day on data showing U.S. consumer confidence hit its highest level in more than 15 years in December, in addition to robust housing numbers.

“Until data…

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