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New Peak for Nikkei

Japan stocks closed at fresh all-time highs on Thursday as Asia markets climbed after the Federal Reserve maintained its forecast for three rate cuts this year, while holding rates at 5.25%-5.5% in its latest meeting.

In Japan, markets returned from holiday with a bang, the Nikkei storming higher 812.06 points, or 2%, to 40,815.66.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index climbed 320.03 points, or 1.9%, to 16,863.10.

Korea's Kospi gained mightily to its highest since last April.

Australian stocks jumped after flash data from Judo Bank showed that the country’s business activity expanded at a faster pace in March compared with the prior month.

The country’s composite purchasing managers index stood at 52.4, up from 52.1 in February.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dished off 4.29 points, or 0.1%, to 3,581.09.

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 64.72 points, or 2.4%, to 2,754.86.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index popped 414.64 points, or 2.1%, to 20,199.09.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index picked up 42.89 points, or 1.4%, to 3,220.37.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 83 points, or 0.7%, to 11,915.71.

In Australia, the ASX 200 surged 86.21 points, or 1.1%, to 7,781.97.