Asian markets closed in the green on Friday, after the release of strong private payrolls stateside and as President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.
Trump said on Thursday that the U.S. would withdraw from the climate agreement, but wanted to negotiate for new arrangements that were more "fair" to the U.S. In response, European leaders said in a statement that the Paris agreement "cannot be renegotiated." The agreement aims to ensure global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Meanwhile, U.S. private payrolls data for the month of May raised market expectations for the upcoming nonfarm payrolls report due Friday U.S. time. The ADP report reflected that private sector employment rose by 253,000 jobs compared to forecasts of 185,000.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.6 percent or 317.25 points to close at 20,177.28. It was the first time since August 2015 that the index crossed the 20,000 mark.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.87 percent or 49.972 points to end the session at 5,788.1. Financial stocks traded higher, while shares of major miners were up by more than 1 percent.
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index surged 1.16 percent or 27.11 points to finish the session at 2,371.72.
Markets in greater China were higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.42 percent. Indexes on the mainland reversed earlier losses to close in the money. The Shanghai Composite was gained 0.11 percent or 3.3583 points to close at 3,105.9815 and the Shenzhen Composite bounced 0.846 percent or 14.997 points to finish at 1,788.6033.
Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China set the reference point for the yuan at 6.8070 to the dollar — compared to the yuan's last close of 6.8062 — Reuters reported. The yuan hit a seven-month high in the last session. In the on-shore market, the yuan traded at 6.8137 per dollar, while the offshore yuan traded at 6.7886 to the dollar.
Shares of Japanese automakers traded higher after May auto sales in the U.S. reflected that Nissan and Honda recorded increases in sales on year, while Toyota fell just short. Nissan shares jumped 2.71 percent to close at 1,098 yen a stock, Honda was up 2.63 percent at 3,194 yen a stock and Toyota was higher by 1.72 percent at 6,092 yen.
Korean automakers closed in the red after U.S. auto sales reflected weaker sales in May on year for Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. Hyundai fell 1.51 percent to close at 163,000 won a stock and Kia tumbled 0.88 percent.
Gaming revenues surged 24 percent to 22.7 billion Macau patacas ($2.83 billion) in the month of May, according to Reuters. Melco International Development gained 0.5 percent, Sands China was up 1.59 percent and Wynn Macau rose 1.36 percent.
The dollar was firmer against a basket of six major currencies: The dollar index traded at 97.242 at 3:35 p.m. HK/SIN, which was off a low of 96.903 set in the last session.
Dollar/yen hit a one-week high, with the greenback fetching 111.61 yen. This was higher than levels around 110.8 seen earlier in the week.
The Australian dollar was steady following two consecutive sessions of declines. The Aussie traded as low as $0.7368 in the last session after the release of weaker-than-expected private sector manufacturing numbers out of China yesterday. The Aussie last traded at $0.7382.
Over on Wall Street, stocks closed the session higher following the release of stronger economic data, with all three major indexes closing more than 0.6 percent up.