Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday, with the tumbling yen pushing Japanese stocks to a fresh multi-year high as improving confidence in the US economy boosted prospects for regional exporters.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei jumped 2.29 percent, climbing above the psychologically key 15,000-mark for the first time in more than five years to end at 15,096.03 as the greenback surged through the 102-yen level following record-setting gains on Wall Street.
"Renewed yen weakening should help Japan stocks to set fresh year highs, helped by fresh investor fund flows and faith in an accelerating global economy," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
Trading on Japan's premier bourse was heavy, with "the numbers reflecting a wide range of participation -- from domestic individuals to overseas foreign funds, and could lend strong staying power to the market", Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Foreign investors have been piling into the Tokyo market in recent months, helping send it rocketing to multi-year highs as a new government in Japan vows to stoke the long-stagnant economy.
Sony (Xetra: 853687 - news) shares soared after a US hedge fund, one of its biggest investors, called on the company to sell off part of its entertainment unit, with the shares jumping 10.38 percent to 2,072 yen.
Sharp (Other OTC: SHCAF - news) dropped 12.80 percent to 463 yen after the embattled electronics giant announced a record fiscal full-year loss on Tuesday, while Toyota rose 2.50 percent to 6,370 yen and Canon (Other OTC: CAJFF - news) added 2.74 percent to 3,750 yen.
The Sydney market fell 0.56 percent, or 29.3 points, to 5,191.7 after the government's austere budget, unveiled late Tuesday, which pushed back its plans to return to a surplus by four years.
Seoul ended 0.12 percent higher, rising 2.43 points to 1,971.26 while Hong Kong climbed 0.63 percent and Shanghai rose 0.30 percent in afternoon trade.
US stocks Tuesday surged to new all-time closing highs on renewed optimism after a prominent hedge fund manager said the stock rally of 2013 still had room to go higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.82 percent to a record 15,215.25. The broad-based S&P 500 also reached a new high, adding 1.01 percent to 1,650.36.
Analysts said there was little fresh news to drive the gains, but pointed to bullish investor David Tepper, head of the Appaloosa Management hedge fund group, who told CNBC that the market could still go higher.
Recent economic data from the United States has pointed towards a steady recovery in the world's largest economy.
On Monday the US announced a slight improvement in consumer spending, with retail sales in April touching $419.0 billion, up from $418.7 billion the previous month, boosting the earnings outlook for Asian exporters.
The April jobs report in early May was also stronger than expected. The US economy added 165,000 new positions and February and March job growth numbers were revised sharply upwards.
Inflation data, which is due on Thursday, will be the next key US release.
The dollar was at 102.59 yen in Asian trade compared with 102.21 yen in New York late Tuesday -- well above the mid-101 yen range a day earlier in Tokyo.
The euro bought $1.2903 and 132.38 yen compared with $1.2935 and 132.29 yen in New York.
Oil was up in Asian trade, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June gaining 11 cents to $94.32 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for June delivery adding 10 cents to $102.70.
Gold was at $1,413.85 at 0700 GMT compared with $1,428.40 on Tuesday.
In other markets:
-- Taipei rose 0.81 percent, or 66.77 points, to 8,318.59.
HTC rose 0.53 percent to Tw$282.0 while TSMC was 0.43 percent lower at Tw$115.0.
-- Wellington was flat, edging up 0.47 points to 4,646.33.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --