Asian shares were higher early Wednesday, with financial stocks tracking gains in the U.S., as investors addedto their bets that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's policies would be good for global banks.
The Nikkei Stock Average was recently up 1.1%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.1%, Korea's Kospi added 0.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was 0.6% higher. Asian currencies, on the other hand, were largely stable against the U.S. dollar, which has strengthened recently.
Overnight, American banks rose as investors largely stuck with the recent trend of dumping bonds and dividend-paying shares like utilities in favor of financial and infrastructure shares.
In Japan, the Topix banks subindex was last up 4.3%. Among individual stocks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial surged 5.2%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped 5.3% and Mizuho Financial rose 5.9%.
Across the region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng finance subindex was 0.4% higher, the S&P/ASX financials subsection added 0.6% and the Philippines' finance index was up 0.5%.
Expectations for higher interestrates and reduced regulation under Mr. Trump's presidency "bodes well for the financials, not just in the U.S. but across the world," said Woon Tian Yong, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures. "Their profit margins will be wider with higher yields."
Meanwhile, crude oil prices shot up overnight, as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries hammered out the details of a proposed output cut, which helped shares of producers across Asia.
Japanese oil explorer Inpex was 3.5% higher and Japan Petroleum Exploration added 2.3%. Australia's Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum jumped 3.9% and 2.8%, respectively. Brent, the global oil benchmark, was recently down 0.3% after rallying more than 3% in the previous session. Chinese oil major Cnooc was up 2.4% in Hong Kong.
The OPEC news "gave a lot of optimism," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Markets. "We are pretty close to the [Nov. 30] meeting, so some of thisoptimism is getting priced into the market."
Elsewhere, Asian technology stocks rebounded from recent declines, taking a nod from the U.S. This follows brisk retail sales growth in the U.S. for October, supporting hopes for a strong holiday shopping season.
South Korea's Samsung Electronics rose 1.5% and LG Electronics was up 0.1%. In Taiwan, Foxconn Technology added 2.5%, while HTC Corp. rose 0.3%.
Nintendo shares rose 3.2% after the company unveiled plans to launch its highly anticipated mobile app "Super Mario Run," Nintendo's first-ever smartphone game featuring one of its iconic characters, next month.
In China, the tech-heavy Shenzhen ChiNext board was up by 0.9%, outpacing the main Shenzhen index's 0.3% gain. The Shanghai Composite Index opened higher but recently edged 0.1% lower.
Sarah McFarlane, Sarah E. Needleman and Akane Otani contributed to this article.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 15, 2016 23:45 ET (04:45 GMT)
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