Asia Markets Track Wall Street Gains

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian markets were higher Thursday, tracking solid overnight gains on Wall Street despite lingering concerns about the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and trade tensions between Asia and the U.S.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to close at 22,497.18. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 6,118.70 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,464.16. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up nearly 1.0 percent to 30,833.83 and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5 percent to 3,173.72. Shares were higher in most other markets apart from Singapore.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 index rose 1 percent to 2,697.79, nudging into positive territory for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average posted its fifth gain in a row, 0.8 percent, to 24,542.54. The Nasdaq added 1 percent to 7,339.91 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.6 percent to 1,596.05.

THE QUOTE: "Markets are trading within a range bound by a number of factors. Rising yields, a strengthening dollar and some geopolitical uncertainty aren't allowing it to run its own race. This is causing investors to tread with caution," Oriano Lizza, sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore, said in a commentary

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 65 cents to $71.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed $2.08, or 3 percent, to $71.14 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 67 cents to $77.88 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.88 yen from 109.65 on Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.1874 from $1.1877.

(BE)