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Asia: Stocks up after Christmas tech results cheer Wall Street


[HONG KONG] Many Asian markets rose in early trade on Friday following another strong lead from Wall Street where tech stocks won big with strong Christmas results.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq finished above 9,000 for the first time on Thursday, hitting its 10th straight record fuelled by gains by e-commerce behemoth Amazon and other tech giants. The Dow and the S&P 500 also closed higher.

In early Asian trade, Hong Kong put on 1.3 per cent and Shanghai gained 0.7 per cent, while Sydney, Seoul and Singapore were also higher.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched up 0.1 per cent.

A report by Mastercard Spending Plus estimated that holiday shopping sales rose by a better-than-expected 3.4 per cent this year, with e-commerce taking a bigger bite of overall sales.

US consumers' "willingness to open the purse strings has offset declining business investment in the face of the trade war and economic uncertainty", Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.

Amazon jumped 4.5 per cent after boasting of another "record" performance this season.

Other tech giants including Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Facebook all gained at least one percent.

"Santa Claus appears to have returned to Wall Street overnight... dropping off another round of goodies for investors," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific at Oanda, said in a note.

"Wall Street's 'buy everything and win' afterglow will inevitably spill over to Asia today with most of the region back at work."

The holiday spending results have added to the positive sentiment across trading floors following the US-China trade thaw, and the expectation that the "phase one" deal between Washington and Beijing will be finalised next month.

Markets have been spooked since US President Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, and analysts have voiced fears about the impact of the bruising spat on global economic growth.

Oil continued its rise, with both main contracts up, driven by US-China trade hopes and sustained demand, analysts said.

Brent Crude was up 0.1 per cent, and West Texas Intermediate was 0.2 per cent higher.

"Optimism about trade helped the outlook for global growth and with it the demand for oil while the US consumer is showing few signs of tightening their purse strings, which is positive for oil also," wrote AxiTrader's Innes.