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Japan, Australia equities track Wall Street gains as Hong Kong falters

Asia Pacific bourses broadly tracked Wall Street higher on Wednesday after the S&P 500 hit a record high as worries over the economic damage from Hurricane Irma eased.

The S&P 500 ticked up 0.3 per cent to a record high of 2,496 on Tuesday while the Nasdaq Composite and the Dow Jones industrial average also rose 0.3 per cent.

Japan’s Topix index posted the largest gain in the region, up 0.6 per cent as the financials sector gained 1.6 per cent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.5 per cent, gaining for a third consecutive day, as the materials sector climbed 1.1 per cent and financials rose 0.9 per cent.

Hong Kong stocks bucked the trend with the city’s Hang Seng index slipping 0.6 as financial and tech stocks fell by the same amount.

The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a weighted basket of peers, was flat at 91.857.

The pound was hovering at a one-year high at $1.33 after rising sharply on Tuesday following the release of stronger than expected UK inflation data. UK consumer prices were 2.9 per cent higher in August compared to the same month a year earlier, rising from 2.6 per cent in July.

The Japanese yen was a touch stronger against the dollar at ¥110.07.

The Australian dollar also strengthened against its US counterpart to $0.8034 as the Westpac measure of consumer confidence rose to a four-month high in September.