Asia Markets: Tech stocks lead recovery in Asian markets,

A rebound in tech stocks helped lead wide gains Thursday for Asian stock indexes, but the Nikkei fell to session lows amid fresh early-afternoon declines for the dollar.

The dollar has been in a slow retreat of late, with the WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, -0.40%  through Wednesday down seven of the past eight sessions. Asian morning trading was down slightly Thursday, but the decline picked up speed in the afternoon. The index was recently down 0.3% and near its worst levels in more than a month.

The resultant move to session highs for the yen, which hit ¥112.80 per dollar USDJPY, -0.59%  from ¥113.25 earlier, pushed Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.56%  to session lows. At the close, it was down 0.6%, at 22783.98. It has been stuck under 23,000 ever since it briefly topped that mark during intraday trade last month. Japan’s stock market often struggles when the yen strengthens because of the amount of international business many of its companies do.

The late softness in Japan stocks, which nonetheless traded in a tight range Thursday, didn’t impact other markets in the region.

Leading the way throughout the day was South Korea and Taiwan. Markets there had been hit Tuesday by fresh worries about iPhone demand. They both rebounded some Wednesday, and the gains accelerated Thursday with the Taiex Y9999, +0.77% finishing up 0.8% and the Kospi SEU, +1.26%  closing up 1.3%.

Index giant Samsung Electronics 005930, +3.24% rebounded 3.2% while in Taiwan the market was helped by Apple AAPL, +0.02%  product assembler Hon Hai 2317, +2.28% climbing 2.3% and smartphone-lens maker Largan Precision 3008, +6.18% rising 6.2% to erase more than half of this week’s slide. Still, the stock is down 21% for the month.

Hong Kong-listed peer Sunny Optical 2382, +4.90%  was recently up 4.3%, nearly reversing its start-of-week drop on Wednesday, and fellow smartphone-component firm AAC Technologies 2018, +4.01% climbed 2.8%. The tech duo helped push Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.73%  up 0.7%, putting it at its best levels for December. Recently weak Chinese benchmarks also notched similar gains.

“Whenever markets get overextended” and pull back, “people use that opportunity to buy these stocks—though they are not cheap,” said Benjamin Pedley, chief executive of ‎Hokkaido Asset Management.

The tech sector’s rebound came as bitcoin prices BTCUSD, -5.89%   fell $1,000 in an hour during morning trading in Asia. It fell further in the early afternoon, and was recently under $14,000, according to CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency was about $16,500 Wednesday afternoon in Asia.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific, afternoon rallies saw New Zealand’s stock benchmark NZ50GR, +0.38%   notch its 48th record closing high of the year and Australia XJO, +0.30%   set its latest 10-year best.

The dollar weakness also helped oil futures reverse morning lows in Asia, with crude futures recently up 0.2%.

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