Australian shares are set to open higher, after Nasdaq hits 2-year high.

ASX futures were up 0.3% or 20 points as of 8:30am on Friday, suggesting a higher open.

The Nasdaq Composite reached a new all-time high for the first time in two years as the AI wave keeps lifting tech stocks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 5096, the Nasdaq rose 0.9% to 16092. while the DJIA was up 0.1% to 38996.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil fell 0.1% to US$83.62 a barrel, while gold was up 0.4% at US$2,043.59.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was up at 3.79% while the 10 Year yield was also up at 4.14%. US Treasury notes were down, with the 2 Year yield at 4.65% and the 10 Year yield at 4.26%.

The Australian dollar hit 64.96 US cents up from its previous close of 65.95. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 98.65.


Chinese shares closed higher amid positive sentiment as investors turn their focus on domestic manufacturing PMI data due Friday and the annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress next week. Semiconductor stocks were among the top gainers, with SMIC gaining 6.1% and Hygon Information Technology rising 2.2%. Decliners included China Coal Energy, which fell 1.0% and Shaanxi Coal Industry, which declined 1.4%. The Shanghai Composite Index ended 1.9% higher at 3015.17, the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 3.4% and the ChiNext Price Index added 3.3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.15% to close at 16511.44, dragged by tech and consumer stocks. Baidu dropped 6.6% after management struck a cautious tone for this year, despite reporting in-line 4Q results. Other decliners on the benchmark index included Budweiser Brewing, down 6.6%, and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, which shed 3.0%. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing dropped 0.8% after its quarterly net profit fell for the first time in over a year. Meanwhile, advancers included Xinyi Solar, up 24% after the solar-glass maker beat earnings estimates.

The Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.1% to 39166.19 as speculation about possible Bank of Japan tightening grows. Tech and steel stocks lead the losers, offsetting some gains in financial shares. BOJ board member Hajime Takata said that the central bank should start discussing details of a possible exit from its ultra-easy monetary policy. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield rose 1.5 bps to 0.710%, while the two-year yield gained 2 bps to 0.180%, its highest level since May 2011. U.S. inflation data due later in the day was in focus.

Indian shares inched up, as markets remain focused on U.S. inflation data in the form of the January personal-consumption expenditures deflator and the personal consumption expenditures price index due later in the day, UOB Global Economics & Markets Research says in a note. Investors will also be watching India's October-December GDP data. Among the top gainers, IndusInd Bank rose 1.8%, Mahindra & Mahindra climbed 1.7% and Nestle India was 1.1% higher. Among decliners, Tata Motors fell 0.7%, Tech Mahindra was 0.3% lower and Tata Consultancy Services was down 0.6%. India's benchmark Sensex rose 0.3% to 72500.30.


European shares closed mixed as traders reacted mostly positively to U.S. PCE inflation slowing slightly, with the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 steady at 495.26, Germany's DAX hitting a record closing high while France's CAC 40 underperformed. The U.S. data allowed Wall Street to "recoup some recent losses," says Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.1%, the DAX ended up 0.4% and the CAC 40 lost 0.3%. "The contrast with the DAX [and the FTSE 100] could not be more stark—U.K. data hasn't been great, but German data has been dire, and yet the latter index has touched a new record high. Flows it seems trump valuation," Beauchamp says.

The FTSE 100 index closed 0.1% higher at 7,630.02 points Thursday after big gains from kitchen-and-joinery company Howden Joinery and consumer-healthcare business Haleon. Howden Joinery topped the blue-chip bourse with a 7.0% rise, while Haleon rose 5.6%. On the other end of the index is IAG, the owner of British Airways, which, despite booking a record profit, fell 3.6%. "The market is instead focusing on the fact that IAG won't pay a dividend and it didn't forecast that a dividend could be paid in the future," XTB research director Kathleen Brooks said in a market comment.

North America

The Nasdaq Composite reached a new all-time high for the first time in two years as the AI wave keeps lifting tech stocks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to 5096, the Nasdaq rose 0.9% to 16092. while the DJIA was up 0.1% to 38996. Nasdaq and S&P 500 rose around 7% in February, DJIA gains 3.5%.

A 9% rally on AMD shares took the chipmaker's market cap above $300 billion for the first time, while Nvidia again rose close to $2 trillion.

January PCE inflation data met expectations, keeping alive hopes that the Fed will start cutting rates in the summer.