Asian shares rise on Wall Street optimism

The Nikkei added 135 points to end at 23,849.99- its highest level since November 1991

The Nikkei added 135 points to end at 23,849.99- its highest level since November 1991

It earlier touched its highest levels since November 1991, catching up to the previous session's gains as markets reopened after a holiday on Monday.

A man fastens his shoelaces as he walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

JAPAN CENTRAL BANK: A drop in the scale of long-term bond purchases by the Bank of Japan on Tuesday has triggered speculation over further "tapering" of asset purchases.

USA stocks have had a strong start to the year, with the S&P and the Nasdaq having closed at record highs on every single day in 2018, buoyed by optimism over global economic growth and expectations of a strong quarterly earnings. The S&P 500 is up 2.9 percent since December 31.

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While the central bank's operational adjustments do not usually have an impact on foreign exchange markets, dealers said the timing of the move suggested some players had used it as an excuse to sell the dollar and the euro against the yen.

China is the largest foreign holder of USA government debt, with $1.19 trillion in Treasuries as of October 2017, data from the Treasury Department show. The S&P financial index.SPSY was up 0.7 percent. "Investors are buying into that", said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent to 6,142.10.

While payrolls missed forecasts, the report was flawless for equities given unemployment stayed low but with little sign of the inflationary pressures that would make the Federal Reserve more aggressive in tightening policy.

On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.05 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.17 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.29 per cent.

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The dollar has fared better on the yen at 113.21, thanks in part to expectations that the Bank of Japan will stick with its super-easy policies.

Crude oil prices firmed to their highest since May 2015, as political concerns in some OPEC nations offset projections for higher US oil production.

Brent had not yet traded in Asia, while US crude rose 43 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $62.17 a barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, gained 47 cents to $68.25 per barrel.

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