Dollar, Toshiba and regional trade data in focus

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi rose 1.03 percent, with automakers a touch higher after closing lower in the last session. Tech blue chips also drove gains on the index. Hyundai Motor edged up 0.68 percent and SK Hynix rose 2.59 percent.

Samsung Electronics advanced 1.76 percent ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter guidance, which is expected next Tuesday.

The moves followed news that North Korea will reportedly meet with South Korea for talks on January 9. The discussion is expected to focus on the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics, an event North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the North was open to joining.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.72 percent as the telecommunications, financials and materials sectors rose. Those moves followed gains in the commodities space, with iron ore and copper gaining in the last session.

Major mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP rose 0.51 percent and 0.82 percent, respectively. Among gold producers, Evolution Mining advanced 1.55 percent.

The New Year rally seen in greater China markets continued on the last trading day of week. The Hang Seng Index, last year’s top-performing Asian major, edged up 0.11 percent as financials, technology names and property plays climbed on the day. The benchmark traded at 30,770.41, within sight of its all-time high of 31,958.41 set in 2007.

Property developers also recorded gains, with Sunac climbing 7.44 percent and China Evergrande rising 3.93 percent.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.26 percent and the Shenzhen Composite added 0.18 percent.

Major U.S. indexes climbed higher for the third straight session on Thursday, with the Dow advancing 0.61 percent and closing above the 25,000 barrier for the first time. The move higher also marked the quickest 1,000-point gain in the index’s history.

Gains in stocks came amid a wave of positive releases on Thursday. In particular, private sector hiring rose more than expected in December: The monthly report showed 250,000 jobs were added last month, compared to the 190,000 forecast in a Reuters poll.

“Positive economic data releases overnight have helped reinforce the view that the ongoing broad based global economic recovery still has a lot of legs,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a note.

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