Asian stocks rise after new Wall Street highs

Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Tuesday after Wall Street indexes hit record highs, with Japan's Nikkei 225 leading gains as the yen weakened.

The Nikkei climbed 1.9 percent to 14,421.60 after a smaller-than-expected current account surplus for Japan weakened the yen. A weak yen usually boosts the share prices of Japanese exporters.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 22,347.20 and India's Sensex climbed above 24,000 for the first time after exit polls suggested the business-friendly Bharatiya Janata Party had won national elections.

China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.3 percent at 2,045.97 after retail sales, fixed asset investment and factory production data suggested that growth decelerated in April, though to still-robust levels.

"All the data is in-line with President Xi's call at the weekend that people must get used to the new normal" of slower growth, said Andrew Sullivan of Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong.

Economic growth in the world's No. 2 economy slowed in the latest quarter to 7.4 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,485.30 and South Korea's Kospi was up 1 percent at 1,982.88.

Markets were also up in the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand. Bourses were closed for holidays in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Also awaited by the market is the Australian federal budget, which is expected to show the government cutting spending to overcome a blowout in the budget deficit.

Some U.S. indexes returned to record levels on Monday as investors regained their appetite for riskier stocks.

After beating down Internet and small companies for two months, investors decided that those stocks had fallen enough. Among the big gainers were Twitter and Facebook, which had plunged in March and April

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 18.17 points, or 1 percent, to finish at an all-time high of 1,896.65. The index last closed at a record high on April 2, when it reached 1,890.90.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 112.13 points, or 0.7 percent, to end at 16,695.47 Monday. The Dow's previous record high was 16,583.34 on Friday. The Nasdaq climbed 71.99 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,143.86.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was up 12 cents at $100.71 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The near-month contract for the benchmark grade rose 60 cents to $100.59 on Monday.

In currencies, the euro was up at $1.3765 from $1.3758 late Monday. The dollar rose to 102.31 yen from 102.15 yen.