TOKYO (AP) -- Asian stock markets rose Wednesday, tracking gains in the U.S. spurred by stronger-than-expected retail sales data.
Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.7 percent to 15,681.76 as the Japanese yen weakened relative to the dollar, boosting exporters such as Toyota and Sony.
The Nikkei 225 lost 3.1 percent on Tuesday as the market, which was closed Monday, reacted to last week's dismal U.S. jobs report.
But data showing a 0.2 percent gain in U.S. retail sales in December breathed new life into markets and helped drive stronger interest in the dollar, relieving upward pressure on the yen.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 22,890.65 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,953.33. Markets in Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan and Australia also were higher. Shares in Shanghai fell on persisting concerns over the potential impact on prices from new share issues.
Overnight in Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.1 percent to close at 6,766.86 while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent to 9,540.51. The CAC-40 in France rose 0.3 percent to 4,274.20.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.5 percent at 16,336 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.9 percent to 1,834.88.
The S&P 500 gained 19.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,838.88, its biggest gain since Dec. 18. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 115.92 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 16,373.86, just below of its high of the day.
In foreign exchange dealings, the euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.364 while the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 104.44 yen.
The price of crude oil slipped on the prospect of rising supplies from Libya, the North Sea, and Iran, with the benchmark U.S. contract for February delivery down 8 cents at $92.51 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 79 cents to close at $92.59 on Tuesday.
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