Asian shares rose, while the euro stayed near two-month lows as soft economic data fueled hopes the European Central Bank could cut rates at its meeting on Thursday.
Japan’s Nikkei touched nearly three-month highs before trimming gains to be up 0.33%.
Australian shares neared a 12-year peak, driven by expectations the ECB and the Federal Reserve will soon lower borrowing costs.
“Lower rates are generally, in a traditional, mechanical way, good news for equity prices,” said Jim McCafferty, head of equity research.
Chinese blue-chips added 0.48%, building on the previous day’s gains, as investors looked with hope to a face-to-face meeting between top U.S. and Chinese negotiators next week for progress in the two countries’ trade war.
But shares in South Korea dropped 0.7% amid trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo. Shares in Taiwan also fell.
On Wall Street, tech companies led the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs on Wednesday.
Stock investors have generally been encouraged in recent days by hopes of some headway in Sino-U.S. trade negotiations, and expectations of easier monetary policy.