The first gain for the Dow in four sessions also provided some support, while the euro gave up some of the rare recent gains it had made in New York before movinghigherinearlyEuropeantrade.
Tokyo closed 0.92 percent, or 77.20 points, higher at 8,443.10, Seoul was up 0.74 percent, or 13.16 points, at 1,782.47, and Sydney gained 0.58 percent, or 23.8 points, to 4,147.7.
Hong Kong ended flat, edging up 0.08 percent, or 15.46 points, to 18,892.79, while Shanghai eased 0.48 percent, or 10.15 points, to 2,126.00. Regional investors followed the lead from the Dow and most European markets after Spanish borrowing costs fell slightly after hitting record highs on the back of fears Madridwillaskforabailout.
The yield on Madrid’s 10-year bonds eased to a still-high 7.376 percent after soaring to as much as 7.621 percent at one point. Dealers were given some comfort after Austrian central bank chief Ewald Nowotny, a member of the European Central Bank governing council, said the soon-to-be launched European Stability Mechanism rescue fund might be granted a banking licence.
That would allow the fund to exchange bonds for ECB cash, bolstering its capacity without governments havingtocontributeadditionalfunds.
Traders have been growing increasingly concerned that a possible rescue for Spain could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, which leaves very little in the pot to help other troubled economies.
“Giving the ESM a banking licence would allow it to expand its firepower,” CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy in Australia told Dow Jones Newswires.
“The sell-off this week was related to the failure of the eurozone to make any improvement in the structural process of directly aiding Spanish banks.”
But there was still plenty of gloom in Europe. In Germany a survey showed business confidence dropped for the third month in a row in July while Britain said its economy shrank a worse than expected 0.7 percent in April-June deepening the country’s double-dip recession. On Japan’s Nikkei, videogame maker Nintendo posted healthy gains of 3.19 percent after saying later Wednesday that its first-quarter losses were much lower than at the same time last year.
And industrial robotics firm Fanuc surged 5.32 percent after saying earnings for the April-June period were better than expected.
The earnings figures were followed by strong results on Wall Street from construction giant Caterpillar and airplane maker Boeing, which helped the Dow advance 0.47 percent on Wednesday. In Sydney flagship carrier Qantas jumped 9.6 percent after it said it was in talks with Emirates and other airlines about a possible tie up to save its struggling international arm. On currency markets the euro bought $1.2208 and 95.42 yen in early European trade, compared with $1.2153 and 95.04 yen late Wednesday in New York, where it had made big gains from the previous session. The dollar was at 78.16 yen from 78.19 yen.
Oil prices were down. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, dipped 34 cents to $88.63 a barrel in the afternoon while Brent North Sea crude for September delivery fell 38 cents to $104.00.