Stocks inch up

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    TOKYO/NEW YORK- Asian shares inched up on Wednesday following buoyant US manufacturing indicators and a rally in US tech shares, with investors also expecting more policy support from Washington.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.25 percent while Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.35 percent.

    Mainland Chinese shares slipped a tad, with bellwether CSI300 index giving up 0.3 percent on investor caution after having hit a five-year high earlier this week.

    On Wall Street, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq boasted record closing highs, with gains of 0.75 percent and 1.39 percent respectively, with the technology sector leading the charge.

    Apple, the world’s biggest company by market capitalization, rose just under 4 percent to take its value to almost $2.3 trillion after a media report that the company had asked suppliers to make at least 75 million 5G iPhones for later this year.

    US manufacturing indicators showed expansion, with the reading from the Institute for Supply Management hitting its highest level in nearly two years.

    Euro zone manufacturing activity also grew last month to stay on a path toward recovery, though factory managers remained wary about investing and hiring more workers.

    “At the moment the market is seeing a lot of positive momentum,” said Greg Boutle, US head of equity and derivative strategy at BNP Paribas in New York. “If you get OK-to-good data and anything from the political landscape that looks like its moving more toward a compromise that’s constructive for markets.”