Asian Shares Mostly Higher On U.S. Tax Comments, French Polls Eyed


Asian shares mostly gained on Friday while monitoring events following a suspected terrorist shooting in Paris days ahead of presidential polls in France, as comments overnight on U.S. tax policy lifted overall sentiment.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.75%. The Kospi surged 0.81%, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 made gains of 0.58%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.50%, but mainland Chinese markets saw the Shanghai Composite off by 0.14%.

Overnight, U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, as risk-on sentiment returned after a strong batch of corporate earnings and bullish comments on tax reform from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The three main U.S. indexes remained on track to end the week in positive territory, as corporate earnings overshadowed geopolitical events and weaker-than-expected economic data.

The Labor Department said on Thursday, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000 for the week ended April 15, which was higher than analysts' forecast of 242,000.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that the Philly Fed manufacturing index rose to a seasonally adjusted 22.0, from 32.8 in the preceding month.

Elsewhere, investors welcomed bullish comments from U.S. Treasury Steve Mnuchin, after he said the Trump administration is "close" to bringing forward tax reform.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.85% higher at 20,578. The S&P 500 added 0.78%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.92% higher at 5916.78.

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