AP Business Writer
HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stocks rose Thursday, tracing gains on Wall Street, where shares shrugged off a poor quarterly economic report as a blip and instead factored in rebounding growth even as policymakers maintain ultralow interest rates.
Investors were unfazed by the U.S. government's report that the world's biggest economy shrank 2.9 percent in the first quarter, the fastest rate since the global crisis five years ago.
But the downturn, due to a severe winter that closed factories, disrupted shipping and kept Americans away from malls, was seen as temporary, with growth rebounding sharply since spring. Investors may also be betting that it gives policymakers a reason not to raise rates.
"Weak U.S. data released overnight means the Fed will be in no hurry to tighten its policy stance," strategists at Credit Agricole CIB said in a report. "Firmer U.S. equities will provide a favorable backdrop for trading" in Asia.
Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent to 15,285.02 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 1,990.31.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.9 percent 23,083.41 while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China gained 0.5 percent to 2,036.14. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 percent to 5,440.70.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to close at 16,867.51 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.5 percent to 1,959.53. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7 percent to 4,379.76.
In energy trading, the price of U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery rose 11 cents to $106.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 47 cents to settle at $106.50 on Wednesday.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to 101.74 Japanese yen from 101.81 in late trading Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.3635 from $1.3627.
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