Asian Equities Generally Higher after U.S. Lead

Asian equities outside Japan rose early Thursday, drawing support from a higher finish on Wall Street overnight.

U.S. stocks settled higher on Wednesday amid gains in oil and gas plays and as investors continued to digest first-quarter financial earnings from corporate America.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed up 0.4 and 0.5 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.7 percent to close above the psychologically key 5,000-point level.

Japanese shares widened losses in early trade as the yen ticked up to trade below the 119 handle against the greenback. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index has seen directionless trading for the past two sessions due to profit-taking and weak first-quarter gross domestic product data from China released Wednesday.