Asia set to follow US stocks higher

Asia set to follow US stocks higher

Futures pointed to a higher open for Asia stocks on Thursday, following overnight gains in US equities.

Australian SPI futures were up 0.7 per cent at 5,241, compared to the ASX 200's last close at 5,215.95.

Nikkei futures in Chicago were up 0.06 per cent at 17,290, while Osaka futures added 2.55 per cent to 17,300 early Thursday morning Asia time. The Japanese benchmark index closed at 16,906.54 on Wednesday.

In the US, major indexes closed up, with the Dow Jones industrial average adding 0.24 per cent, the S&P 500 higher by 0.08 per cent and Nasdaq composite up 0.16 per cent.

Oil prices advanced during US hours, with global benchmark Brent settling up 4 per cent at $45.80 (SG$61.72) a barrel, while the May front-month contract for US futures, which expired Wednesday, finished up 3.8 per cent.

Reuters reported data from the US Energy Information Administration showed crude stocks rose 2.1 million barrels last week, lower than a forecast for a 2.4 million-barrel rise.

Oil prices had retreated during Asian hours Wednesday after reports said the strike in Kuwait, which affected the OPEC producer's daily production numbers, had ended.

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