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Asia stocks broadly higher; Nikkei ends up 1% on weaker yen

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Shutterstock photo - - Asian stock markets were broadly higher on Wednesday, with the Japan's Nikkei 225 rising to a three-week high as investors cheered a weaker yen.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite inched up 0.27%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.26% higher, while Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 1.04%.

Asia was given a positive lead from the U.S., where the S&P 500 rose to an intraday record high following the release of upbeat U.S. manufacturing data.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei rose sharply as the yen fell to a 10-week low of 103.92 against the U.S. dollar, boosting exporters.

Automakers Nissan 7201.TOK) and Mazda (7261.TOK) saw shares rise 1.5% and 2.8% respectively after reporting strong U.S. auto sales figures for March on Tuesday.

Renesas Electronics rallied 6% after a Nikkei report said that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in talks with the Japanese electronics firm to take over one of its units, which designs chips for smartphone displays.

Elsewhere, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index ended higher as gains in the mining sector boosted the benchmark index.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.ASX) and Atlas Iron (AGO.ASX) climbed 2.8% and 3.1%, while BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.ASX) picked up 0.9%.

Meanwhile, shares in mainland China and Hong Kong edged higher amid ongoing indications that China's government is prepared to do more to shore up the cooling economy.

Real estate developers led gains, with Poly Real Estate Group jumping 7.2% in Shanghai and Vanke Property Overseas surging 6.5% in Hong Kong.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a modestly higher open. The Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a gain of 0.3%, France's CAC 40 futures rose 0.2%, London's FTSE 100 futures indicated a gain of 0.1%, while Germany's DAX futures added 0.3%.

In the euro zone, Spain is release data on the change in the number of people unemployed.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets also pointed to a firm open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a gain of 0.1%, S&P 500 futures inched up 0.15%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.2%.

The U.S. is to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, which leads the government's nonfarm payrolls report by two days. The U.S. is also to release data on factory orders. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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