Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Wednesday, as an upbeat session on Wall Street boosted sentiment.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index rallied 0.71%, China’s Shanghai Composite Index eased down 0.18%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 0.75% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index ended up 0.37%.
Asia was given a positive lead from the U.S., where markets ended higher after data showed that consumer confidence rose to a six-year high in March.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei ended mildly higher as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar. USD/JPY rose to a daily high of 102.39, moving off the previous session’s low of 102.08.
Automakers Toyota (7203.TOK) and Mazda (7261.TOK) picked up 1.1% and 1.4% respectively, while Sony (6758.TOK) and Sharp (6753.TOK) advanced 1.9% and 1.4%.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index closed higher as gains in the financial sector boosted the benchmark index.
Westpac Banking (WBC.ASX) Group jumped 1.3%, ANZ Banking Group (ANZ.ASX) rose 0.75%, while Commonwealth Bank (CBA.ASX) and National Australia (NAB.ASX) Bank added 0.7% and 0.9% respectively.
Elsewhere, shares in Hong Kong rallied on the back of upbeat corporate earnings.
Agricultural Bank Of China (1288.HK) surged 3.1% after saying fourth-quarter net income jumped 13% to ¥28.3 billion from a year earlier, beating expectations for net income of ¥27.9 billion.
China Mengniu (2319.HK) Dairy soared 9.1% after its full-year profit climbed 25% to ¥1.63 billion, above estimates of ¥1.5 billion.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a higher open on hopes of fresh stimulus measures from the European Central Bank.
The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.5%, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.3%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.1%, while Germany''s DAX futures picked up 0.35%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a firm open. The Dow 30 Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.11%, S&P 500 futures inched up 0.11%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.14%.
The U.S. is to release data on durable goods orders later in the session.