Tech rally, BOK rate decision, Nikkei record

Employees work at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, January 4, 2024.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Japanese Nikkei 225 crossed the 42,000 mark for the first time on Thursday amid a broader rally in Asia-Pacific markets after US Big Tech companies rose overnight on optimism over Federal Reserve rate cuts.

The Nikkei rose 0.94% to close at 42,224.02, led by technology stocks, while the broad-based Topix rose 0.69% to 2,929.17.

On an annual basis, Japan's core machine orders rose 10.8%, higher than Reuters' forecast of a 7.2% rise.

However, core machinery orders unexpectedly fell for the second straight month on a monthly basis, falling 3.2% compared with the 0.8% rise expected by economists polled by Reuters.

Machinery orders are a volatile but important indicator of capital spending in Japan. A decline could signal a fragile economy, complicating the Bank of Japan's plans to normalize monetary policy.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota got a boost in India after the state of Uttar Pradesh scrapped some levies on hybrid cars, making them 10% cheaper, Reuters reported.

South Korea's Cospi rose 0.81% to close at 2,891.35 as the Bank of Korea kept interest rates at 3.5% for the twelfth consecutive time. However, the Kosdaq fell 0.71% to 852.42.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.93% to close at 7,889.6, its highest close since March.

Hong-Kong Hang Seng Index rose 1.96%, while China's CSI 300 index rose 1.14% to close at 3,468.17

In the US, all three major indexes rose overnight, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rising 1.02% and 1.18% respectively.

The gains also helped the S&P break above the 5,600 mark for the first time, marking its 37th record close in 2024. The Nasdaq saw its 27th record close this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.09%.

Chip stocks were among the biggest winners in the U.S. trading session. U.S.-listed shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company rose 3.5% after April-June revenue beat Wall Street estimates.

Peer chip company Qualcomm edged higher as much as 0.8%, while Broadcom rose about 0.7%. Artificial intelligence darling Nvidia climbed 2.7%.

Gains were also fueled by hopes of a rate cut. The Dow Jones said inflation would come in at 3.1% annualized in June, down from 3.3% in May.

Core inflation, which strips out more volatile food and energy prices, is expected to rise 3.4% from June last year. In May, the CPI was up 3.3% year-on-year.

—CNBC's Brian Evans, Samantha Subin and Jesse Pound contributed to this report.

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