Asian markets looked set to track stateside gains on Friday after the Dow Jones industrial average hit a major milestone. Markets in the region had traded at or around multi-year highs in the prior session, with Japan’s benchmark index hitting a 26-year high and the Hang Seng Index touching a decade-high.

Major U.S. indexes climbed higher for the third straight session on Thursday, with the Dow breaking the 25,000 barrier for the first time. The move higher also marked the quickest 1,000-point gain in the index’s history.

The Dow advanced 0.61 percent, or 152.45 points, to close at 25,075.13, the SP 500 tacked on 0.4 percent to end at 2,723.99 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.18 percent to finish at 7,077.92.

Gains in stocks came amid a wave of positive releases on Thursday. In particular, private sector hiring rose more than expected in December: The monthly report showed 250,000 jobs were added last month, compared to the 190,000 forecast in a Reuters poll.

“Positive economic data releases overnight have helped reinforce the view that the ongoing broad based global economic recovery still has a lot of legs,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a note.

Dollar slips

The positive employment data gave the dollar some support overnight, although the currency later gave up those gains to trade lower on the day. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, traded at 91.873 at 6:40 a.m. HK/SIN after rising as high as 92.261 in the session.

Against the yen, however, the dollar traded at 112.73, compared to levels around the 112.3 handle seen at the beginning of the week.

Meanwhile, the euro traded near its highest levels in three years in the last session. The common currency traded at $1.2068 at 6:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

Asia markets look set to gain

Over in Asia, futures pointed to another strong showing from Japanese shares at the open following the Nikkei 225’s 3.26 percent rise on Thursday. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.72 percent at 23,675 and Osaka futures were higher by 0.44 percent compared to the index’s last close.

In Australia, the SP/ASX 200 edged up 0.43 percent in early trade.

Corporate news

Brookfield Business Partners is reportedly buying Toshiba’s nuclear arm, Westinghouse Electric, for $4.6 billion, Reuters said on Thursday. The acquisition will likely close in the third quarter of the year, Reuters added. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy last year.


News Reporter

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