Good news about the U.S. economy, including strong auto sales, helped boost Asian stock markets Thursday, AP reported.
A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday showed that all 12 of the Fed's districts reported moderate economic growth from July through late August. More good news came from the auto industry: General Motors and other carmakers posted strong sales in August, giving the industry its best month in six years.
That data comes on top of the Institute for Supply Management's report, released Tuesday, that said U.S. factory production rose in August at the fastest pace in two years.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index swung between losses and gains before rising 0.3 percent to 14,093.36 after the Bank of Japan said following a policy meeting that the world's No. 3 economy was "recovering moderately." The central bank's policy board also said the bank's monetary easing policies would be maintained for the time being, Kyodo News reported.
Andrew Sullivan, trader at Kim Eng Securities in Hong Kong, said investors were anticipating a press conference later Thursday by Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda. Analysts were waiting to hear what Kuroda might have to say about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plans to raise sales taxes from 5 percent to 8 percent, a proposal to help repair the nation's overstretched finances. Kuroda has previously indicated support for the increase.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.1 percent to 22,574.03. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.9 percent to 1,951.10. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 5,142.40. Benchmarks in the Philippines and New Zealand were also lower.