Tokyo: Most Asian stock markets advanced on Wednesday, with the region’s high-tech shares pushing higher after strong earnings results from Apple Inc. and IBM Corp.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.2% to 10,538.93. The electronics sector, including Sony Corp. and Hitachi Ltd., posted strong gains.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5% to 2,106.65 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.3% to 4,813.70. Benchmarks in New Zealand and Taiwan also rose.
In New York on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average hit its highest close since June 2008, led by Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. The two companies contributed more than half of the Dow’s 50 point rise.
The Dow rose 50.55 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 11,837.93. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 1.78, or 0.1%, to close at 1,295.02. The Nasdaq rose 10.55, or 0.4%, to 2,765.85.
Apple had weighed on the Nasdaq after the company announced that its CEO, Steve Jobs, was taking another medical leave. Its shares fell 2.2%. But the company announced after the market closed that its net income soared 78% in the holiday quarter thanks to brisk sales of iPads and iPhones.
IBM also reported after market close that its net income in the fourth quarter rose 9%, topping analysts’ expectations.
In currencies, the dollar fell to 82.25 yen from 82.59 yen late on Tuesday. The euro stood at $1.3423 from $1.3387.