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Asian Shares Rise as U.S. Stocks Hit Record Highs

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by August 12, 2016 General

Stocks rose across the board in Asia Friday, catching an updraft from the U.S., where the three main indexes closed at record levels on the same day for the first time since 1999.The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.9% in morning trade at its highest level since early June. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi was trading 0.3% higher and Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.2%.Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all closed at record levels in the U.S., propelled higher by firmer oil prices and strong earnings reports from the retail sector.“The stock market rally may be displaying its true colors with it becoming increasingly clear that sentiment remains a driver rather than fundamentals,” said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, a U.K.-based stocks and commodities brokerage, in a report.“Inflated expectations over central banks intervening have propped stocks higher while talks of easing Brexit uncertainties continue to attract investors to riskier assets,” the report said.Economic optimism in the market pushed up the odds of a December rate-increase by the Federal Reserve to 42.6% from 36.4% a day ago, according to Fed Funds Futures.On the other end of the spectrum, Thursday’s rate cut by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand continued to support New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index, which rose 0.4%.“There seems to be few other places for investors to look [for yields] at the moment,” said Daniel Metcalfe, senior investment adviser at OM Financial.Reversing just after opening, a softer yen supported the shares of Japanese exporters. Auto makers gained, with Toyota Motor Corp. up 1% and Mazda Motor Corp. up 2%.Shares in Sharp Corp. surged 15% after Chinese antitrust authorities approved Foxconn Technology Group’s offer to buy the Japanese electronics firm.Toshiba Corp. maintained its gains, last up 4.1%, following the Nikkei financial daily report Thursday that the company is estimated to have turned in an operating profit of ¥ 20 billion ($196 million) in April-June-its first profit in six quarters.Hiroyuki Kachi, Riva Gold and Ewen Chew contributed to this article.Write to Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com

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