Asian markets have maintained a consistently optimistic outlook regarding the upcoming US policy announcements and the potential outcome of the French elections. Major stock markets in the region are hovering near their two-year highs.
Investors are finally withdrawing from "safe haven" assets, thereby expecting geopolitical tensions in Syria and the Korean peninsula to abate. The withdrawal caused the yen to depreciate and boosted Japanese stocks as a result.
US President Donald Trump is set to announce his tax plan this week. While investors appear to be positive about Trump's proposed corporate tax cuts, the media is largely sceptical about the magnitude of the announcement. The Trump administration's policy on infrastructure spending will also soon be unveiled, as a fiscal stimulus would greatly benefit the financial markets.
"It's a good time to hold equity and credit, and it seems a dark cloud in the form of the French elections has swiftly departed from the investment landscape, combining effectively with headlines on Trump tax reform and in turn providing fresh impetus to chase returns", remarked IG Melbourne Market Analyst Chris Weston.
The following index quotes have been logged on 6:26am BST:
Japan: Nikkei- Up by 0.99% to 19,267.75
The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry revealed on Wednesday (April 26) that industrial production beat forecasts by rising from a 0.4% drop in January to a 0.7% increase in February based on a month-over-month basis.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is scheduled to commence its monetary policy meeting from April 26-27. The decision regarding quantitative easing is largely expected to remain unchanged.
Automotive companies Mitsubishi Motors Corp (+4.09%) and Mazda Motor Corp (+3.68%) have emerged as some of the index's strongest performers.
Hong Kong: Hang Seng- Up by 0.61% to 24,605.55
Computer hardware and electronics firm Lenovo (-.78%) emerged as one of the weakest performers.
China: Shanghai Composite-Up by 0.36% to 3,145.709
Despite the stringent capital controls inflicted on the country's investors and citizens, the positive first quarter economic data and the government's automotive policy kept investor optimism buoyant.
The Chinese government announced on Tuesday (April 25) that vowed to become a global "auto-making powerhouse" within a decade by improving its development of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) and reducing restrictions on foreign ownership of cars. The government intends to increase sale of NEV units from 507,000 last year to 2,000,000 by 2020 as part of the plan.
Australia: S&P/ASX- Up by 0.72% to 5,913.801
A weekly survey conducted by ANZ bank and Roy Morgan revealed on Wednesday that the Consumer Confidence Index fell in a second consecutive week, from 112.6 to 111.2.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics also revealed that the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.5%, falling short of a 0.6% forecast.
Despite the dip in consumer confidence, investors have remained undeterred as sharp gains were registered in the S&P/ASX 200 index.
Singapore: Straits Times- Up by 0.23% to 3,171.13
The optimism in Singapore has been further bolstered by the Economic Development Board's announcement of industrial output growth of 10.2% year-on-year. The report exceeded expectations of a 0.5% growth for the month of March.
India: Sensex- Up by 0.35% to 30,047.24