Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Wednesday (25 January), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.23% at 3,149.92 as of 4.46am GMT, following a higher Wall Street close overnight and positive data from Japan and South Korea.

On Tuesday, America's S&P 500 index hit an all-time high and closed in the green after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order for advancing the construction of two controversial pipelines. This will make it easier for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the Dakota Access pipeline.

Trump also had meetings with the chief executives of America's three largest automakers, aimed at pushing the companies to increase the number of cars built in the country.

These had a positive effect on investors as such moves will improve job opportunities and the economy as a whole. "He is coming out of the gate strong and he is doing a lot of the things he said he would...On top of that, earnings aren't a disaster so far, so why not - you've been stuck in a range and why not lift off to the next level?," Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

In Asia, Japan's exports and South Korea's GDP have turned out to be better than expected, according to CNBC.

Japan's exports were up 5.4% year-on-year in December 2016 amid good demand for car parts and electronics. This had a positive effect on investors as the figures were better than the 1.2% increase economists had forecast in a Reuters poll.

South Korea reported a 2.3% on-year increase in GDP in the final quarter of 2016, better than the 2.2% forecast, boosting investor sentiment in the region.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.02am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index22,991.41Up0.18%
JapanNikkei 22519,008.96Up1.18%
South KoreaKOSPI2,069.27Up0.17%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,674.30Up0.43%

On 24 January, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.01% lower at 7,150.34, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.66% higher at 2,280.07.

Among commodities, oil prices were in the red, ahead of the weekly US inventory data. As of 5.10am GMT, WTI crude oil was trading 0.30% lower at $53.02 (£42.37) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 0.20% lower at $55.33 a barrel.