Wall Street closed with substantial gains ahead of Asia’s Thursday trading day. In the region, investors awaited a raft of China data, as well as interest rate decisions from South Korea’s and Indonesia’s central banks due later in the day.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average advancing 322.79 points, or 1.25 percent, to finish above the 26,000 level for the first time. The index first crossed that barrier on Tuesday, but had given up gains and closed lower in the same session.

Other major stock indexes stateside also saw gains of around 1 percent after the release of expectation-topping earnings from several U.S. corporates.

Aside from earnings, U.S. investors also awaited developments related to a potential government shutdown should Congress fail to pass a funding bill by Friday.

Back in Asia, futures pointed to a strong showing for Japanese equities at the open. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.93 percent at 24,090 and Osaka futures were 0.76 percent higher at 24,050 compared to the benchmark’s last close.

The Nikkei 225 touched a 26-year high earlier this week and has risen more than 3 percent so far this year.

Over in Sydney, the SP/ASX 200 traded higher by 0.26 percent, with gains driven by the heavily-weighted financials sector in the early going.

On the corporate earnings front, Taiwan’s TSMC is slated to announce results on Thursday.

Bitcoin briefly falls below $10,000

Cryptocurrencies continued their wild ride last session, with bitcoin falling for a time below the $10,000 mark.

The digital currency tumbled as low as $9,199.59 before paring some losses trade at $11,274.34 at 6:50 a.m. HK/SIN, according to industry site CoinDesk. That’s around 43 percent below the all-time high of $19,783.21 bitcoin hit on CoinDesk in December.

The move lower came after South Korea’s finance minister said this week that the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges was an option it was still considering. A Bloomberg report earlier in the week also said China intended to clampdown on the centralized trading of cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the dollar edged up against a basket of currencies on Wednesday. The dollar index stood at 90.939 at 6:56 a.m. HK/SIN, above levels around the 90.6 handle seen around the end of the Asian trading day in the last session.

That came after the euro retreated from a three-year high after several European Central Bank officials on Wednesday noted their concerns over recent strength in the currency. The common currency last traded at $1.2173, compared to a high of $1.2322 seen overnight.

Against the yen, the greenback rose to trade at 111.31.

News Reporter

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