Asian markets rise after US highs

Asian shares rose Wednesday after another record-breaking close on Wall Street and strong economic data from the US, though most financial markets in the region were closed for the Christmas holiday.

The dollar also traded higher against major currencies in Asia following the latest batch of positive news out of Washington.

Tokyo closed up 0.76%, or 120.66 points, at 16,009.99, reaching another six-year closing high and reversing losses at the start. Shanghai climbed 0.64%, or 13.44 points, to 2,106.35 while Taipei rose 0.2%, or 17.27 points, to 8,467.76.

Financial markets in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and India were closed for the holiday.

US stocks closed at a new all-time high Tuesday before the Christmas break, following solid reports on durable goods and new home sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both hit their highest-ever levels on Tuesday, rising 0.39% to 16,357.55 and 0.29% to 1,833.32 respectively. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 0.16% to 4,155.41.

The November report on US durable goods orders showed an increase of 3.5%, more than expected.

In another positive sign, the number of new home sales in the US in November, though slightly down from the October level, also beat expectations.

The news added to a run of recent figures showing a pick-up in the US economy -- including data on unemployment and economic growth -- indicating it is well on the road to recovery.

Last week the Federal Reserve announced it would from next month reduce its stimulus programme by US$10 billion to $75 billion a month.

In afternoon trade the dollar fetched 104.39 yen compared with 104.27 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3668 and 142.71 yen against $1.3681 and 142.65 yen.

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