Japanese and Taiwanese stock markets hit record highs as Asia-Pacific rally
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Japanese and Taiwanese stock markets hit record highs as Asia-Pacific rally

Japanese and Taiwanese stock markets hit record highs as Asia-Pacific rally

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly positive on Thursday, with major Japanese and Taiwanese indices hitting record highs.

The Topix rose 0.85%, surpassing its all-time high of 2,886.50 reached in December 1989. The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8%, surpassing its all-time high of 40,888.43 reached in March this year.

Shares of SoftBank Group hit another all-time high, extending their winning streak to seven days, with a 2.5% gain.

Japanese companies have seen their biggest wage increases in three decades this year, according to Japan’s largest labor union. A survey conducted by labor group Rengo since March shows that monthly pay for union-supported workers will rise an average of 5.1 percent in the fiscal year ending in March 2025. Large companies with 300 or more unionized employees have raised wages by 5.19 percent, while smaller companies have increased wages by 4.45 percent.

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

The Taiwan Weighted Index hit a new high, surpassing the previous record of 23,406.1 set on June 20. The index was boosted by chip stocks, with Hon Hai Precision Industry, known internationally as Foxconn, gaining more than 5%, while heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company rose 2.66%.

Investors also weighed other data from the region, such as Hong Kong business activity and Australian trade data released on Thursday. S&P Global reported that Hong Kong’s composite purchasing managers’ index fell to 48.2 in June, down from 49.2 the previous month. This marked the second straight month that private sector output fell, with June’s pace of contraction the fastest in more than two years.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.23%. The CSI 300 Index in mainland China was unchanged. The onshore Chinese yuan weakened to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in about nine months, falling to 7.2735 against the greenback.

Hong Kong-listed Chinese electric vehicle companies surged, led by Nio and Xpeng, which rose 6.15% and 4.49%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Australia’s trade surplus narrowed to A$5.77 billion ($3.88 billion) in May, from A$6.03 billion a month earlier, a steeper narrowing than economists polled by Reuters had expected. Exports rose 2.8 percent from a month earlier, led by minerals and ores, while imports rose 3.9 percent over the same period, boosted by fuels and lubricants.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.05%. In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.6%, while the Kosdaq rose 0.45%.

Overnight in the United States, the S&P 500 added 0.51% to close at a record high of 5,537.02. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.88% to also close at a record high of 18,188.30, as tech giants like Tesla and Nvidia rallied. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.06% to close at 39,308, weighed down by a decline in UnitedHealth.