Asian Shares Rise As Fed Affirms Taper

Asian stocks rose broadly on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced its widely expected decision to begin tapering its bond purchases in November with plans to end them in 2022.

In his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the end of bond buying would not mean a rush to raise interest rates.

Chinese markets climbed, with consumer staple stocks surging after the government urged people to keep stores of basic goods in case of emergencies.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 28.33 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish at 3,526.87, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 200.44 points, or 0.8 percent, at 25,225.19.

Japanese shares rose sharply after a survey showed the country’s services sector activity grew for the first time in 21 months in October.

The Nikkei 225 Index advanced 273.47 points, or 0.9 percent, to 29,794.37, while the broader Topix closed 1.2 percent higher at 2,055.56.

Mitsubishi Motors jumped 3.3 percent ahead of its earnings release later in the day, while Toyota Motor rose 0.7 percent after upgrading its full-year profit forecast.

Nintendo declined 1.7 percent on reports that the gaining giant would make 20 percent fewer Switch consoles in the year to March.

Australian markets rose as banks and tech stocks advanced, offsetting weakness in the energy sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 35.30 points, or 0.5 percent, at 7,428, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 33.30 points, or 0.4 percent, at 7,746.30.

Insurer NIB Holdings jumped 5.8 percent after its premium revenue rose in the first quarter. Energy companies such as Oil Search, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Beach Energy lost 3-5 percent as oil extended declines on concerns over increased global supply.

Australian retail volumes fell a record 4.4 percent in September, reflecting the COVID-19 situation in parts of the east coast, data showed earlier in the day.

Seoul stocks rose modestly after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled “patience” in raising interest rates. The Kospi inched up 7.51 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,983.22. Internet portal operator Naver rallied 2.2 percent and Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, added 2.6 percent

Meanwhile, New Zealand shares ended lower, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index falling 49.89 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,943.94 amid expectations that the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates the end of this month.

Steel & Tube shares advanced 1.6 percent after the building products company reported a 14 percent increase in revenue during the first four months of the new financial year.

Overnight, U.S. stocks reached new record closing highs as investors reacted positively to the Fed decision and upbeat private payrolls and service sector activity data.

The Dow edged up 0.3 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1 percent.

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