Global Shares Gain on Dow 20k Jump

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global shares advanced Thursday, driven by investor optimism over the Dow Jones industrial average's first ever close above the 20,000 milestone the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent to 7,167.89. France's CAC 40 added 0.2 percent to 4,888.82 and Germany's DAX gained 0.5 percent to 11,860.18. U.S. stocks were headed for a tepid start, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent and S&P futures adding 0.1 percent.

DOW RECORD: The Dow broke through the 20,000 mark on Wednesday in the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite also touched record highs of their own for a second day in a row. That rally reflected optimism on Wall Street that executive actions and policy goals announced by the Trump administration this week on trade, manufacturing and business deregulation will be good for corporate America.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The rally was again driven by positive earnings surprises and animal spirits spurred by the so called 'Trump Rally.' Policy shifts since Trump's inauguration (have been) fast and furious," said Margaret Yang, a market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and other Asian countries are about to begin holidays of varying lengths to mark the lunar new year, curtailing trading across much of the region.

ASIA'S DAY: The Dow's record high close was front page news across the region. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.8 percent to 19,402.39 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8 percent to 2,083.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 1.4 percent to 23,374.17. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.3 percent to 3,159.17 and benchmarks in Southeast Asia were also higher. Australian and Indian markets were closed for holidays.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 36 cents to $53.11 per barrel in New York. The contract fell 43 cents to close at $52.75 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 42 cents to $55.93 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 113.83 yen from 113.19 while the euro weakened to $1.0730 from $1.0757.