Japan and Taiwan stock benchmarks hit all-time highs as Asia-Pacific markets rally

Japan ,Tokyo City skyline, Tokyo Tower. (Photo by: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose Thursday as Japan’s major indexes as well as Taiwan’s benchmark hit all-time highs.

The Topix rose 0.92% to close at 2898.47, crossing its previous all-time high of 2,886.50, set in December 1989.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.82% to close at 40913.65, surpassing an all-time high of 40,888.43, set in March this year.

Japanese financial institutions including top insurers Tokio Marine and Sompo will sell 535 billion yen ($3.3 billion) worth of Honda cross-shareholdings, according to a regulatory filing.

SoftBank Group shares hit another record high, extending their winning streak to a seventh day, up 4.53%.

Japanese companies have delivered the largest wage hikes in three decades this year, according to the nation’s biggest labor union.

Monthly pay for union-backed workers will climb 5.1% on average this fiscal year ending March 2025, according to a survey of companies conducted since March by union group Rengo.

Big firms with 300 or more union-backed employees raised wages by 5.19%, while smaller firms increased pay by 4.45%.

Higher wage growth will help the country realize a “virtuous cycle” of rising prices and wages, allowing the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates and normalize its monetary policy.

The Taiwan Weighted Index also reached a fresh high, surpassing its previous record of 23,406.1 set on June 20.

The index closed up 1.51% at 23,522.53, powered by chip stocks. Hon Hai Precision Industry — known internationally as Foxconn — gained nearly 6%, while heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company gained 2.66%

Investors also assessed other data from the region, such as Hong Kong business activity and Australian trade numbers released Thursday.

S&P Global reported that Hong Kong’s composite purchasing managers’ index fell to 48.2 in June, down from 49.2 in the previous month. This represents the second straight month that private sector output fell, with June’s pace of contraction being the fastest in over two years.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.21% in its final hour of trading. Mainland China’s CSI 300 ended the day flat at 3,445.81.

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The onshore Chinese yuan weakened to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in about nine months, dropping to 7.2735 against the greenback.

Hong Kong-listed Chinese electric vehicle companies were up, led by Nio and Li Auto, which rose 5.15% and 4.24%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Australia’s trade surplus narrowed to 5.77 billion Australian dollars ($3.88 billion) in May from AU$6.03 billion the month prior, narrowing more sharply than expected by economists polled by Reuters.

Exports rose 2.8% from the month prior, driven by metal ores and minerals, while imports rose 3.9% over the same period on the strength of fuels and lubricants.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended Thursday up 1.19% at 7,831.9.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.11% to end at 2824.94, while the Kosdaq was up 4.71% to 840.81.

Overnight in the U.S., the S&P 500 added 0.51% to close at a record 5,537.02. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.88%, also ending at an all-time high of 18,188.30 as tech giants like Tesla and Nvidia rallied.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.06% to end at 39,308, weighed down by a drop in UnitedHealth.

—CNBC’s Alex Harring and Hakyung Kim contributed to this report.

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