Asian Shares Climb, Tracking Gains in U.S. Stocks, Oil Prices

TOKYO (AP) -
A man watches an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, May 6, 2016. Asian markets were mostly lower in nervous trading Friday ahead of a closely watched U.S. jobs-report that may influence interest rate decisions and the value of the U.S. dollar. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A man watches an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian shares rose Friday, tracking the rally in U.S. stocks that was driven by strong gains by energy companies and retailers. Rising oil prices also lifted sentiment. The retailers’ earnings fueled optimism for the U.S. government’s latest monthly tally of retail sales Friday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.7 percent to 16,856.27 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8 percent to 22,757.22. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.4 percent to 3,015.62 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,522.10. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.6 percent to 18,613.52, up 0.1 percent from its last record high set July 20. The S&P 500 index added 0.5 percent to 2,185.79, up 0.13 percent from the high it set on Friday. The Nasdaq composite index gained 0.5 percent to 5,228.40, up 0.1 percent from its previous high. Energy stocks led the rally, getting a boost from a surge in oil prices. Investors also welcomed some better-than-expected quarterly results from Macy’s and Kohl’s, which spurred gains for several other big retail chains.

“Asia Pacific markets are set to finish the week on a high following strong leads from European and US investors. Industrial commodities rose, led by oil, and overnight trading displayed “risk on” characteristics despite the lack of an obvious trigger,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for CMC Markets said in a daily commentary.

An industry report released Thursday projected a more even balance in the supply and demand for oil this year. “It’s been such an oversupplied market for a long period of time, to get that supply-demand closer to being in balance, or to be in balance, is a huge driver,” said David Chalupnik, head of equities for Nuveen Asset Management. “That should at least support the commodity price.”

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $43.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.78, or 4.3 percent, to close at $43.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 14 cents to $46.18. It gained $1.99, or 4.3 percent, to close at $46.04 in London.

The dollar strengthened to 101.97 yen from 101.86 on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1144 from $1.1137.