AP Business Writer
HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets pushed higher Monday on optimism over the U.S. economy after new home sales rose and a Wall Street benchmark closed at a record level.
Markets in Asia were reacting to Friday’s Commerce Department report that new home sales rose 6.4 percent in April after falling in the previous two months. Investors were also heartened after the Standard & Poor’s 500 finished 0.4 percent higher at 1,900.53, the first time it has ended above the 1,900 level.
Trading was expected to be thinner than usual, with markets in the U.S. and Britain closed for holidays.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark rose 0.7 percent to 14,567.04 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to 23,039.15.
In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1 percent higher to 2,037.10. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 5,506.70.
South Korea’s Kospi, however, dipped 0.3 percent to 2,011.98.
On Wall Street, the Dow climbed 0.4 percent to end Friday at 1,606.27. The Nasdaq rose 0.8 percent to 4,185.81.
The dollar slipped to 101.95 Japanese yen from 101.97 in late trading Friday. The euro weakened to $1.3621 from $1.3630.
In energy markets, oil prices fell. Benchmark crude for July delivery was down 29 cents to $104.06 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 61 cents to settle at $104.34 on Friday.
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