Asian shares extended gains for a seventh day Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve took new stimulus steps, also putting the yen under pressure as expectations grow for more aggressive easing from the Japanese central bank next week.
But while the Fed's fresh dose of liquidity-pumping measures will underpin sentiment, investors remain concerned about the lack of progress in talks to avert the "fiscal cliff," which many fear could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
U.S. stocks ended little changed Wednesday, giving up most of the day's gains after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that monetary policy won't be enough to offset damage from the fiscal cliff.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1 percent to a 16-month peak, having hit successive 16-month highs since Dec. 5, Reuters reported.
Australian shares nudged up 0.1 percent, rising for five days in a row, while South Korean shares also edged up 0.1 percent.
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Japan's Nikkei share average opened 1 percent higher to an eight-month peak, as a weak yen continued to lend support.
The dollar was at 83.20 yen, not far from a 8-1/2-month high of 83.30 yen marked on Wednesday.
The euro traded at $1.3066, retreating from Wednesday's high of 1.3098.