Asian Stocks Up After Dow Breaks Through 20,000 Milestone

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -
A man looks at an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm displaying Japan’s Nikkei 225, left, that surged 1.4 percent to 19,332.84 and NY Dow Jones industrial average that went up 155.80 to 20,068.51, in Tokyo, Thursday. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Shares advanced across Asia on Thursday, the last full trading day before many markets start Lunar New Year holidays, as investors cheered the Dow Jones industrial average’s first ever close above the 20,000 milestone.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.8 percent to 19,402.39 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.8 percent to 2,083.59. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.3 percent to 23,342.53. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.3 percent to 3,159.17 and benchmarks in Southeast Asia were also higher. Australian and Indian markets are closed for holidays.

“Asian markets are slated for higher prices in the day with the jubilance from Wall Street and ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore. “Into the end of the week, Asian markets excluding Japan have been showing substantial resilience.”

The Dow’s breaking through the 20,000 mark on Wednesday was the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite also touched record highs of their own for a second day in a row. The Dow, which tracks 30 major industrial companies, gained 155.80 points, or 0.8 percent, to 20,068.51. The S&P 500 index rose 18.30 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,298.37. The Nasdaq added 55.38 points, or 1 percent, to 5,656.34.

The dollar strengthened to 113.72 yen from 113.19 while the euro weakened to $1.0738 from $1.0757.