Over in Asia, futures tipped a higher open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.38 percent at 20,175 and Osaka futures 0.16 percent higher at 0.16 percent. The Nikkei 225 closed at 20,098.38 on Wednesday.

Australian SPI futures were off 0.38 percent at 5,652 compared to the benchmark index’s last close of 5,673.831.

Wall Street cheered Yellen’s comments on future rate hikes as major indexes closed higher, with the Dow closing up 0.57 percent, or 123.07, at a record 21,532.14. The S&P 500 gained 0.73 percent, or 17.72 points, at 2,443.25 and the Nasdaq jumped 1.1 percent, or 67.87 points, at 6,261.17.

In currencies, the Canadian dollar rose to its highest levels in more than a year after the Bank of Canada raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday. The greenback fetched as little as 1.2740 Canadian dollars overnight compared to the 1.2920 Canadian dollars seen in the prior session.

Ahead, markets awaited China trade data for the month of June, which was expected at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN.

Several central banks were set to take center stage on Thursday, with the Bank of Korea expected to release its interest rate decision at 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN. Malaysia’s central bank is set to do the same at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN.

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