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Asian stocks follow Wall St. up on strong Japan, Korea data

April 1, 2021 GMT
Currency traders talk each other at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday after Japan and South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic data and President Joe Biden announced a $2.3 trillion U.S. infrastructure spending plan. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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Currency traders talk each other at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday after Japan and South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic data and President Joe Biden announced a $2.3 trillion U.S. infrastructure spending plan. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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Currency traders talk each other at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday after Japan and South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic data and President Joe Biden announced a $2.3 trillion U.S. infrastructure spending plan. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher Thursday after Japan and South Korea reported unexpectedly strong economic data and President Joe Biden announced a $2.3 trillion U.S. infrastructure spending plan.

Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced.

Japan’s closely watched quarterly Tankan survey found business conditions improved more than expected. South Korea reported higher March export growth. House prices rose in New Zealand and Australian manufacturing expanded.

“Asia-Pacific released a lot of data today, including Japan’s latest Tankan survey. Most of it was positive,” Robert Carnell of ING said in a report.

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Biden announced plans to spend on broadband internet and clean energy, roads, bridges and public transit. The plan would roll back corporate tax cuts enacted under his predecessor, Donald Trump.

There was little market reaction because “investors appear to have already priced in” the spending and taxes, said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% to 3,453.10 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.1% to 29,513.59. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8% to 28,616.61.

The Kospi in Seoul was 0.5% higher at 3,075.97 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 6,814.20. New Zealand and Jakarta declined while Singapore advanced.

Investors are swinging between optimism that coronavirus vaccines will allow business to return to normal and unease about rising infections in the United States and some European countries. That has prompted some to reimpose travel curbs.

In Japan, the Tankan index of business conditions for large manufacturers rose into positive territory for the first time since 2019.

That “supports our view that the economy’s recovery from the pandemic will gather pace again soon,” said Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics in a report.

South Korea reported March export growth accelerated to 16.6% over a year earlier from the previous month’s 9.5%.

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On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.4% on Wednesday to 3,972.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3% to 32,981.55. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5%, to 13,246.87.

Technology stocks powered much of S&P 500′s latest gains, even though more stocks in the index fell than rose. Apple, Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia rose while financial, energy and materials stocks declined.

The 10-year Treasury yield inched up to 1.74%, close to its highest level since before the pandemic rocked markets a year ago. Vaccinations and government spending plans have raised expectations for supercharged economic growth and a possible rise in inflation, which has pushed yields higher.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 10 cents to $59.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.39 on Wednesday to $59.16. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, added 13 cents to $62.87 per barrel in London. It lost 60 cents the previous session to $63.54.

The dollar declined to 110.64 yen from Wednesday’s 110.75. The euro Japanese yen from 110.36 yen. The euro was little-changed at $1.1727.