Asia-Pacific markets gain confidence from US gains

SYDNEY – Asia-Pacific markets continue to gain confidence after stocks in Europe and the U.S. closed higher on a surge in demand for cars and planes in July that offered an unexpectedly upbeat sign of life in the U.S. economy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index opened 1.3 percent higher on Thursday at 8,756. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index opened 0.6 percent higher at 4,193.

New Zealand was one of the first markets in the world to open Thursday and its benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.4 percent to 3,301 points.

Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at Sydney-based stockbroker CMC Markets, says the resignation Wednesday of Steve Jobs as Apple Inc. chief executive is unlikely to impact markets outside the United States, which is the only country where Apple shares are traded.

“Clearly for Apple it’s a very important event, and it’s very likely to have an impact on Apple’s share price, but from a broader market perspective, it’s not material,” McCarthy told The Associated Press.