BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Wednesday amid hopes that the Federal Reserve would announce measures at the end of its two-day meeting to stimulate the U.S. economy.Economists expect the U.S. central bank to either announce new bond-buying plans or to signal that a plan is in the works. The Fed has launched two rounds of bond purchases, most recently in August 2010, to lower long-term interest rates and make stocks more attractive to investors.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8 per cent to 8,722.15. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent to 19,514.06 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 per cent to 1,899.60. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5 per cent to 4,145.10. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia were also higher. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell.
Investors were further heartened by developments in Europe. Greece appeared to make progress in cobbling together a governing coalition while Spain’s borrowing costs eased: its benchmark 10-year bond yield fell below 7 per cent to 6.99 per cent.
“On the data front, we have a very thin calendar in Asia. This means trading will take cues from the development in the advanced economies,” analysts at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong said in a market commentary.
Hopes for Fed action helped banking shares. Japan’s Nomura Holdings rose 2.6 per cent and National Australia Bank Ltd. added 2.3 per cent.
Stocks rose sharply on Wall Street Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rise 0.8 per cent to 12,837.33, its highest close in a month. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 1 per cent to 1,357.98. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.2 per cent to 2,929.76.
Benchmark oil for July delivery fell 19 cents to $83.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose by 76 cents to end the day at $84.03 per barrel in New York on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2671 from $1.2689 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.85 yen from 79.04 yen.