The support for stocks came from the U.S., where the Dow Jones Industrial Average enjoyed its largest gain in more than a month, as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting showed that officials discussed how they would eventually raise interest rates, but that their outlook hadn’t changed enough to warrant a policy change.
South Korea’s Kospi rose by 0.2% and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose by 0.5%.
In Japan, the Nikkei added 1%, outperforming the rest of the region as the market was helped by a softer local currency.
The positive global tone helped the yen soften from the three-month high it reached against the dollar on Wednesday, a move brought about by signals from Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda that further monetary easing is unlikely in the near term. The yen was last trading at Yen101.43 to the dollar, little moved in Asian trade, but weaker than the Yen100.81 level it reached in the previous session.
The main economic news for Thursday will be HSBC’s China preliminary purchasing managers index for May, which will come out during the morning session in Hong Kong. The final reading for April was 48.1, putting the measure below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.