The Japanese markets saw the main action in Asia Thursday, Feb. 15, as China and Korea were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday while Hong Kong closed early, up a strong 1.97% at 3115.43.
The Nikkei rallied for the first time in four days, despite the continued strength of the yen, which normally has a negative effect on the export-oriented index. The dollar spot index fell 0.3%, with the yen climbing 0.6% against the greenback, to ¥106.40. The euro was up 0.3% at $1.246.
The Nikkei was up 1.47% at 2,146.98, while the Topix was up 0.97% at 1,719.27.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 index closed up 1.16% at 5,908.99.
In Europe, the FTSE100 was up 0.58% at 7,255.82, the DAX was up 0.80% at 12,437.76 and in Paris the CAC40 rose 1.46% to 5,240.79.
That followed the better mood on Wall Street on Wednesday, Feb. 14. U.S. markets closed in positive territory for the fourth straight session, with the S&P 500 shaking off a negative start to close 1.34% up at 2,698.63 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.03% to 24,893.49. Traders shrugged off the earlier jitters of rising U.S. consumer prices.
On the futures market, contracts tied to the Dow rose 229 points, whole those linked to the S&P 500 gained 13 points.
In premarket trading, Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report was up over 1.3% on the back of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s (BRK.A) - Get Report (BRK.B) - Get Report statement in a regulatory filing that it has boosted its Apple stake by 23% since the end of September. The Warren Buffet-led company or also said it has taken a new stake in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) - Get Report , a factor which pushed up Teva's New York listed American depositary receipts by almost 7%.
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) - Get Report jumped 7.46% to $45.23 in the premarket after Wednesdya's announcement that it raised its share buyback program by $25 billion and plans to bring back $67 billion of funds held overseas to take advantage of changed U.S. tax laws.
Oil prices were mixed, after Wednesday's lower-than-expected crude inventory data. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.21% at $60.73. Brent crude was down 0.28% at $64.18.
In Zurich, Nestle (NSRGF) dropped more than 2.6% after full-year results showed organic growth came in below expectations at 2.4%. The company said it expected improved growth in 2018 and the results were anyway mixed. While reported sales were below consensus, underlying operating margin of 16.4% was ahead of the consensus of 16.2%.
But the Nespresso owner also opened the way to the sale of its 23% stake in French cosmetics group L'Oreal. It said it won't renew its partnership with L'Oreal's founding Bettencourt family when it expires late next month and won't increase the stake. Activist Dan Loeb has been pushing the Swiss food company to sell the holding.