Asia stocks rally as Nikkei tops 20,000

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks rallied, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average topping 20,000 for the first time since 2015, as the yen weakened after private American hiring data bolstered confidence in the global economy.

Equities from Australia to Hong Kong climbed after the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at all-time highs. The US dollar held on to gains triggered by a report showing companies added more workers to US payrolls in May than forecast. The Chinese central bank kept its daily yuan fixing level little changed amid a surge in the currency this week, with speculation mounting that policy makers are trying to discourage bets against it.

Stocks Japan's Topix index rose 1 per cent and the Nikkei 225 climbed 1.2 per cent as of 10.52am in Tokyo. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.4 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index and South Korea's Kospi rose at least 0.8 per cent.  The Shanghai Composite fell 0.1 per cent, declining for a second day.

Singapore shares also opened higher on Friday (June 2), with the benchmark Straits Times Index at 3,243.18 in early trade, up 0.22 per cent, or 7.22 points.

Global equities extended this year's advance to more than 10 per cent, setting a fresh record high, as data showed growth in the world's largest economy is intact. With investors primed for an interest-rate increase at this month's Federal Reserve meeting, all eyes will turn on Friday (June 2) to the latest US hiring report.

Markets largely ignored the US withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.