In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 0.88% higher while the Topix index was up 0.51%. South Korea’s Kospi was fractionally higher. Stocks in Australia advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.07% lower.
Oil prices fell in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 2.15% to $40.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 2.4% to $37.86 per barrel. Investor focus on Friday likely remained on the U.S. election with the spotlight on a few battleground states such as Arizona and Pennsylvania. Based on NBC News’ tally, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has racked up 253 electoral votes, leaving him 17 shy of the 270 needed to win the White House.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 542.52 points higher at 28,390.18. The S&P 500 rose 1.95% to end its trading day at 3,150.45 while the Nasdaq Composite surged 2.6% to close at 11,890.93. Thursday also marked the first time since 1982 that the Dow and S&P 500 rose at least 1% in four straight sessions.
U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday stateside that it kept interest rates unchanged near zero, noting in its post-meeting statement that economic activity remains “well below” levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.615 after an earlier drop from levels above 93. The Japanese yen traded at 103.45 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 104.4 against the greenback this week.