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updated: 11/8/2017 8:55 PM

Japan's Nikkei at 26-year high, other Asia shares muted

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  • FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, a Wall Street address is carved in the side of a building in New York. U.S. stocks are lower in early trading Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, as falling interest rates continue to put pressure on banks, and technology and energy companies also move lower.

    FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, a Wall Street address is carved in the side of a building in New York. U.S. stocks are lower in early trading Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, as falling interest rates continue to put pressure on banks, and technology and energy companies also move lower.
    Associated Press

  • A man reaches for a cigarette tucked behind his ear at a stock brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.

    A man reaches for a cigarette tucked behind his ear at a stock brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.
    Associated Press

  • A man eats while monitoring stock prices at a brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.

    A man eats while monitoring stock prices at a brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.
    Associated Press

  • Pedestrians walk past a statue of a bull in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.

    Pedestrians walk past a statue of a bull in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.
    Associated Press

  • Men chat at a stock brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.

    Men chat at a stock brokerage in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street declined as President Donald Trump delivered a new warning to North Korea in a speech to South Korean lawmakers.
    Associated Press

 
 

HONG KONG -- Japan's stock benchmark rose Thursday to its highest in more than a quarter century on the yen's weakness and healthy corporate earnings while other Asian markets were subdued.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rallied 1.8 percent to 23,314.50, a level it hasn't matched since November 1991. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 2,553.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7 percent to 29,104.56 but the Shanghai Composite in mainland China slipped less than 0.1 percent to 3,414.08. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.4 perent to 6,039.40.

TOKYO RALLY: Japanese shares are rising as the yen nears its weakest level versus the dollar since July, making the country's shares and its exports more affordable for foreign buyers. Upbeat earnings reports are also boosting investor sentiment. So is the latest set of economic data, with monthly machinery orders falling 8.1 percent, which keeps the door open for central bank policymakers to maintain stimulus measures.

TRUMP TRIP: Investors will keep an eye on the second day of President Donald Trump's visit to China, where trade is expected to dominate the agenda as he holds talks with President Xi Jinping. The Asian tour has not provided much in the way of market-moving developments so far. On Wednesday, U.S. and Chinese companies on Wednesday inked business deals valued at $9 billion, including a pledge by China's biggest online retailer to buy $1.2 billion in American meat.

QUOTEWORTHY: Such deals are important for maintaining good U.S.-China trading relations battered by Trump's dislike of swollen U.S. trade deficits, said Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING. "The improved economic relations with China will be key for the U.S. in keeping its own economic strength going and keeping the North Korea threat at bay, which is what matters for a sustained global growth and positive investor sentiments toward risky assets."

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks finished with small gains to close at record highs. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 2,594.38. The Dow Jones industrial average gained less than 0.1 percent to 23,563.36. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 percent to 6,789.12.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.01 yen, its strongest since early July, from 113.88 yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.1594 from $1.1595.

ENERGY: Oil futures rebounded. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $56.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 39 cents to settle at $56.81 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 17 cents to $63.66 a barrel in London.

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