Asian stocks rose Wednesday after Wall Street hit new highs ahead of the two-day U.S. break for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5% to 3,427.66 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.7% to 22,579.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.9% to 30,087.73 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.6% to 5,996.90. Seoul's Kospi climbed 0.4 % to 2,540.66 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also rose.
U.S. stock indexes set new records as technology and health care stocks rose, adding to gains for this year's biggest gainers. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon all rose more than 1 %. Basic materials companies rose while telecoms companies declined. The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 0.7 % to 2,599.03. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7% to 23,590.83. The Nasdaq composite index added 1.1% to 6,862.48. Chair Janet Yellen said the Federal Reserve needs to craft an interest rate policy that avoids putting the economy through a "boom-bust" cycle. Yellen's speech Tuesday echoed previous remarks on inflation, reinforcing expectations the Fed will continue with gradual rate hikes. Yellen is due to leave the Fed next year but economists expect no major changes in policy.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 91 cents to $57.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 41 cents on Tuesday to close at $56.83. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 42 cents to $62.99 in London. It advanced 35 cents the previous session to $62.57. The dollar declined to 112.29 yen from Tuesday's 112.44 yen. The euro was little-changed at $1.1741.