Asian shares edged up on Thursday as investors continued to favor riskier assets on further signs that the global economy is picking up, while a weak dollar sent gold to another record high.

The dollar <.DXY> recovered some losses after hitting a 15-month low early on, but was still down 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies.

Its weakness encouraged a shift into gold, which hit a record high for a second day, at $1,120.30 an ounce, while platinum rose to a record high above $1,376 an ounce.

A string of robust economic data from China on Wednesday has added to expectations the world's fastest-growing major economy can lead a pick-up in global activity. That has further encouraged a shift from the dollar to riskier assets and boosted commodity prices.

Asian equities rose for a fifth straight day, though gains were modest. Both the MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks traded outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> and the Nikkei <.N225> were up around 0.4 percent.

Asian stocks were also underpinned by gains on Wall Street where the Dow Jones index <.DJI> hit a fresh 13-month high, helped by an upbeat revenue forecast from luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc and the Chinese data. <.N>

Even though fears of the U.S. economy dipping again are receding, the biggest boosts are the signs that no stimulus measures will be revoked until a recovery is really confirmed, said Kenichi Hirano at Tachibana Securities in Tokyo.


Australia's equity market <.AXJO> was supported by gains in resource-related stocks, which were buoyed by signs of firming Chinese demand, but stocks came off earlier highs after strong employment data for October raised the likelihood of another interest rate rise next month.

That along with firmer prices for gold and other commodities propelled the high-yielding Aussie dollar to a 15-month high at $0.9370.

One month of this data you can take with a grain of salt, but two months in a row of positive (employment) numbers is starting to look like a trend, said Rob Henderson, head of market economics at National Australia Bank.

South Korea's central bank said recent economic activity showed clear recovery but added it would maintain policy easing for the time being and kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 2 percent.

In Asia, shares of Korean business group Hyosung <004800.KS> rallied 13.8 percent after the company withdrew its bid for a controlling stake in Hynix Semiconductor <000660.KS>, the world's No. 2 memory chipmaker. Hynix shares rose 1.8 percent.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index <.HSI> was flat but shares in Bank of East Asia <0023.HK> jumped more than 8 percent at one point, adding to a 15 percent surge on Wednesday on rumors the lender could be a takeover target for Malaysian conglomerate Guoco Group.


The sterling remained under pressure after the Bank of England explicitly called for currency weakness to boost exports and on benign UK inflation data on Wednesday. Sterling was trading at $1.6600, after falling more than 1 percent the previous day.

Asian currencies, in contrast, are expected to continue to face upward pressure after China signaled on Wednesday it was ready to renew yuan appreciation after an 18-month hiatus.

Korean authorities were spotted intervening on Thursday to curb the won, which was quoted at 1,155 to the dollar, up from 1,157 late on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil futures held steady above $79 a barrel, with the market awaiting the release of government data on crude and refined oil product stocks and other economic indicators due out later in the day for directional cues.

(Additional reporting by Elaine Lies in Tokyo and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill)