Asian shares higher following strong gains on Wall Street

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BANGKOK — Shares have advanced in Asia following a rally on Wall Street led by technology companies. There was little if any immediate reaction to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1 per cent to 20,874.06 early Wednesday. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.3 per cent, helped by buying of banks’ shares, to 6,026.10, while the Sensex in India jumped 0.6 per cent to 36,836.43. Markets in Hong Kong, mainland China and most of Southeast Asia were closed for lunar new year holidays.The overnight rally in U.S. markets, supported by strong corporate earnings, extended the benchmark S&P 500 index’s winning streak to five days.More than 68 per cent of companies reporting earnings in the S&P 500 beat analyst forecasts during the most recent quarter. Those results, in part, helped drive the market’s best January in 32 years.CHINA-US TRADE: Positive sentiment has been supported by reports from Washington, citing unnamed sources, that say U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin plan to travel to Beijing next week for the next round of talks aimed at resolving trade and technology-related disputes that have led to both sides imposing tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s products.WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index added 0.5 per cent to 2,737.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent to 25,411.52. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 0.7 per cent to 7,402.08 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 0.2 per cent, to 1,520.23.ENERGY: U.S. crude oil added 8 cents to $53.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 1.6 per cent to settle at $53.66 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 6 cents to $62.04 per barrel. It slid 0.8 per cent to close at $61.98 per barrel in London.CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.76 yen from 109.96 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened versus the dollar to $1.1397 from $1.1405.Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press

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