Asian shares gain ahead of Yellen speech, rate view key

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Investing.com - Asia stocks rose Friday as, as investors looked to the forum of global central banker meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Key among the speeches in Jackson Hole on Friday will be the comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Investors are looking for indications of when the U.S. plans to increase interest rates.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2%, having risen as much as 4.7% in the past two weeks amid domestic earnings news.

Big banks in Australia were higher with ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) gaining 0.5%.

Elsewhere, South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.3%. The Nikkei 225 was up just 0.2%, after closing up 0.9% Thursday.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose boosted by a double shot of positive U.S. data coupled with expectations that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will deliver a market-friendly speech on Friday.

The Dow 30 rose 0.36%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.29%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.12%.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its July policy meeting on Wednesday, and the document revealed that interest rates could rise sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to recover.

Stocks rose on Thursday even amid sentiments that buying costs are set to rise, as many investors bet Yellen will provide dovish words in a Jackson Hole speech on Friday to complement the hawkish minutes in order to convey to markets that even though rates will rise, monetary authorities will make sure they do so gradually.

Upbeat U.S. data also boosted stock prices.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index topped a three-year high of 28.0 this month from July's 23.9 reading. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 19.2 in July.

Separately, market research group Markit said that its preliminary U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index increased to a four-year high of 58.0 this month from a final reading of 55.8 in July. Analysts had expected the index to ease down to 55.7 in August.

Data also showed that U.S. existing home sales increased 2.4% to 5.15 million units last month from 5.03 million in June. Analysts had expected existing home sales to dip 0.4% to 5.02 million units in July.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 16 decreased by 14,000 to 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 312,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 300,000 last week.

On Friday, expect markets to move on speeches delivered by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi at the annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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