Asian stocks headed into the Easter holiday weekend on a solid footing as technology names rallied on forecast-beating results from US computer maker Apple.
The FTSE Asia Pacific index rose 1.3 per cent on Thursday to 268.17, its best level in two months, as investors responded to figures after the US bell from Apple showing that profits for the maker of iPads and iPhones nearly doubled during the March quarter.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 per cent to 9,685.77 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.1 per cent to close at 4,913.80.
On the mainland, China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.7 per cent to 3,026.67 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1 per cent to 24,138.31. HSBC added 1.4 per cent in Hong Kong to HK$84.05. The UK bank plans to overhaul operations and cut costs in an effort to revive its struggling US operations, according to people involved in the process.
South Korea’s Kospi Composite index climbed 1.3 per cent to finish at a fresh record of 2,198.54, with Apple rival Samsung Electronics gaining 1.3 per cent to Won928,000.
Chipmakers also continued to revel in upbeat forecasts from Intel, with Hynix Semiconductor, a South Korean memory chip maker, leaping 7.9 per cent to Won37,000. Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory rallied 3.6 per cent to Y1,179.
Suppliers of chips and iPhone parts also did well in Taiwan, with TSMC rising 1.3 per cent to T$70.70 and Hon Hai adding 1.4 per cent to T$109.50.
Oil-related shares tracked crude oil prices higher, with Japanese energy explorer Inpex rising 3.5 per cent to Y622,000 while PetroChina added 1.9 per cent in Hong Kong trading to HK$11.88. In Sydney, Woodside Petroleum advanced 2.7 per cent to A$47.86.
Airline shares lost ground in response to the rise in oil, with China Eastern Airlines falling 2.5 per cent to HK$3.46 and Korean Air Lines dropping 1.7 per cent to Won62,600.
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