Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday following fresh records on Wall Street as Donald Trump's tax-cut plans moved a step closer, while the pound extended gains on reports of a breakthrough in Brexit talks.
Traders brushed off early worries caused by another North Korean missile test, while Bitcoin continued its surge to break the $10,000 mark for the first time.
New York traders cheered a forecast-beating US consumer confidence survey and news that a key senate committee agreed to a fiscal overhaul plan late Tuesday, fuelling a rally to new all-time highs on the city's three main indexes.
The move allows the president's much-vaunted proposals to be debated on the floor of the upper chamber, providing relief to many who had feared opposition from some Republicans would kill it.
Shane Chanel, equities and derivatives adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers, said the agreement "is a significant milestone and the chances of a negotiated version being implemented this year is likely."
"There is a lot of optimism being priced in currently," he said, but warned "delays or a rejection of the bill will result in a sharp correction in December."
The dollar rallied in US trade on the news and it managed to hold its gains in Asia, buying 111.61 yen, having dipped below 111 yen at one point Tuesday. But seemingly dovish comments from Trump's pick to assume the Federal Reserve chair kept the greenback from surging.
The weaker yen helped the Nikkei end the morning 0.4 percent higher, while Sydney added 0.7 percent and Singapore put on 0.1 percent.Seoul was flat.
However, ongoing worries about China's crackdown on risky and speculative trading dragged Hong Kong 0.2 percent down and Shanghai was 0.5 percent lower.
- Bitcoin breaks $10,000 -
Analysts said there is some concern that in its attempts to settle surging mainland markets while also preventing cash from leaving the country, Beijing will look to stem the amount dealers can invest in Hong Kong.
"If money keeps going south to Hong Kong, then for a closed-end system such as (China's) market, it will present a liquidity drainage," Hao Hong, chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
"Now that they have a policy stance to slow down the flows, and Hong Kong is coming near the 30,000 resistance, you may see money slowing down."
The pound edged up after Tuesday's rally following reports of a British-EU deal on a Brexit bill, meaning they can now move to talks on a post-split trade deal.
"This headline is fantastically positive news for the beleaguered pound," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA. "The financial settlement should pave the way to possible breakthrough in negotiations in December overcoming investors biggest fears, a hard Brexit."
Bitcoin, which has ploughed to continuous records in recent weeks, finally broke $10,000 Wednesday.
The virtual currency hit a high of $10,209 in Asia with some commentators suggesting it is being bought as an alternative with mainstream global markets valued too high.
But there is a worry the rise -- it has surged more than tenfold since its 2017 low in mid-January -- will result in a massive correction.
"This is a bubble and there is a lot of froth. This is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes," warned hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz at a cryptocurrency conference earlier this week.
- Key figures around 0300 GMT -
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 22,576.86 (break)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 29,609.32
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,318.65
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1843 from $1.1845 at 2155 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3370 from $1.3354
Dollar/yen: UP at 111.61 yen from 111.39 yen
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 30 cents at $57.69 per barrel
Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 37 cents at $63.24 per barrel
New York - DOW: UP 1.1 percent at 23,836.71 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 1.0 percent at 7,460.65 (close)