BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly rose Wednesday, boosted by more evidence the U.S. economic recovery is gaining traction.
U.S. government figures released Tuesday showed a better-than-expected 3 percent rise in factory orders in February, the largest increase since September. In addition, March sales reports from auto makers were solid.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 1.7 percent to 12,207.46 as a fall in the yen enticed investors back into export shares. A weaker yen helps Japanese exporters by making their products cheaper in overseas markets.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose less than 0.1 percent to 22,377.74. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 1,972.91. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.9 percent to 4,942.10 after a narrowing trade deficit put upward pressure on the Australian dollar, analysts said.
Benchmarks in the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia rose. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 2,232.
The steady recovery in the U.S. has been supporting markets in recent weeks in the face of financial trouble in the 17-country eurozone, where the economy continues to wilt under the pressure of government budget cuts.