By Kenan Machado
Other Asian markets quieter
Strong Japanese corporate results had Tokyo stocks extending their rally early Thursday though the rest of Asia was quieter after mild gains on Wall Street overnight.
The Nikkei Stock Average extended its rise off the Wednesday's lows and was last up 1.2% to 23,180, above 23,000 for the first time since January 1992. The benchmark ended Wednesday off 0.1%, just its third drop in the past 26 trading days.
Earnings have generally shown strong growth, and investors have also been enthused by the Bank of Japan's commitment to buying equity as part of its ultraloose policy, even as other central banks scale back their stimulus.
Japanese stocks were also helped by fresh yen weakness as the dollar moved back above Yen114 after falling as low as Yen113.40 overnight.
Traders looked past a government report that core machinery orders, seen as a proxy for corporate capital spending, tumbled 8.1% in September from August, four times the drop economists had expected.
However, capital spending was still solidly higher for the third quarter, said Marcel Thieliant at Capital Economics. While noting the data captured some 20% of capital investments made by Japanese firms, he added, "Investments as a percentage of GDP still point to a recovery."
On Thursday, robust earnings helped bearing marker MinebeaMitsumi (>> Minebea Mitsumi Inc) jump 13%, topping 2015's record high. Chocolate maker Meiji (>> MEIJI Holdings Co Ltd) climbed 6.2% to a one-year peak.
Early moves were generally muted elsewhere in Asia early Thursday, mirroring the finishes seen across the region Wednesday.
But New Zealand stocks continued to lag, with the NZX-50 falling another 0.6% after the index notched 17 record closing highs in October.
Software firm Xero (>> Xero Limited) said it would delist from the Wellington market and consolidate activity in Australia, sending its New Zealand-listed stock down 3.9%. Meanwhile, milk producer Synlait (>> Synlait Milk Ltd) fell another 2.9%, putting the week's plunge at 15%.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left interest rates unchanged, as expected and said the country's economic outlook has improved somewhat thanks to recent commodity-price gains and the decline in the New Zealand dollar.