Asia stocks rise after data drives Wall Street up -

Asia stocks rise after data drives Wall Street up

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets rose Thursday after a late-day surge on Wall Street, while the resignation of Steve Jobs -- the creative force behind Apple Inc. -- sent ripples through the technology sector.

Oil prices hovered above $85 a barrel in Asia. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

Asian markets got a boost from U.S. data showing a surge in demand for cars and planes in July that offered an unexpectedly upbeat sign of life in the world's biggest economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 2 percent to 8,808.24. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.4 percent higher to 19,746.64 as strong half-year earnings from China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Bank of China Ltd. on Wednesday boosted sentiment.

South Korea's Kospi rose 1 percent to 1,772.82 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was 0.9 percent higher at 4,204.50. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand were also higher, while indexes in Taiwan, India and the Philippines dropped.

Shares of Asian technology companies that are direct competitors of Apple rose though the gains weren't dramatically out of line with broader market movements. South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. jumped 3 percent and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. added 1.4 percent.

The resignation of Jobs, who is widely credited with turning an ailing Apple into a phenomenally successful technology company, appears to be the result of an unspecified medical condition for which he took a leave from his post in January.

Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was quickly named CEO of the company Jobs co-founded in his garage 35 years ago and which nowadays is known for hit consumer gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad.

Taiwan's FoxConn Technology Co., which makes the iPhone and iPad for Apple at a massive manufacturing campus in southern China, plummeted 7 percent.

Vincent Chen, an analyst with Yuanta Core Pacific Securities Corp. in Taipei, said investors may be worried about Apple's longer-term future without Jobs in day-to-day charge. He will take on the role of board chairman.

In other sectors, mining shares were down as gold prices come off their recent highs amid improved economic news. Hong Kong-listed Zijin Mining Group, China's largest gold miner, lost 2.7 percent. Australia's Newcrest Mining Ltd. dropped 2.6 percent.

Stronger durable goods orders resulted in Wall Street reversing course to close with gains Wednesday.

The Dow added 143.95 points, or 1.3 percent, to 11,320.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,177.60. The Nasdaq rose 21.63, or 0.9 percent, to 2,467.69.

The U.S. Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose 4 percent in July, much better than the 2.4 percent increase economists had expected. The rise in orders was due to higher demand for autos and aircraft.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 6 cents to $85.10 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude lost 28 cents to settle at $85.16 on Wednesday. In London, Brent crude for October delivery was up 14 cents to $110.29 on the ICE Futures exchange.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.4409 from $1.4421 in late trading Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose slightly to 77.03 yen from 77.01 yen.

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