Investing.com - Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday, after China’s government unveiled fresh stimulus measures in an effort to shore up the cooling economy.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng rose 0.25%, China’s Shanghai Composite slumped 0.74%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.12% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended up 0.84%.
China''s State Council said Wednesday that it will increase spending on railways and housing, as policymakers attempt to boost slowing growth in Asia’s largest economy.
Shares of China Railway Group (0390.HK) rallied 5.6% in Hong Kong, while China Railway Construction (1186.HK) shares surged 7.2%.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Nikkei rallied to a fresh one-month high to close above the key 15,000-level as the yen weakened against the U.S. dollar, boosting sentiment. USD/JPY rose to a daily high of 104.06, the most since January 23.
Heavy equipment maker Komatsu (6301.TOK)saw shares rise 1.8%, while index heavyweights Fanuc (6954.TOK)and Fast Retailing (9983.TOK) picked up 1.3% and 1.8% respectively.
Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index rose modestly to close at a three-week high after data showed the country’s trade surplus narrowed to A$1.2 billion in February from A$1.4 billion in January. Markets were expecting a trade surplus of A$850 million.
A separate report showed that retail sales there rose 0.2% in February, missing expectations for a 0.3% increase.
Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a modestly higher open as investors looked ahead to the release of upcoming U.S. economic data and a policy meeting by the European Central Bank later in the day.
The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 futures rose 0.1%, London’s FTSE 100 futures indicated a gain of 0.2%, while Germany''s DAX futures added 0.1%.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a loss of 0.04%, S&P 500 futures inched down 0.05%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a flat open.
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims later in the day as well as a report on service sector activity. Investors were also beginning to turn their attention to Friday’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls data.
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