(RTTNews.com) - Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday following the overnight rally on Wall Street after comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell were interpreted as dovish for interest rates.
Investor sentiment was also boosted by optimism that the U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit later this week will help ease trade tensions between the two countries.
The Australian market is advancing with broad-based gains following the overnight rally on Wall Street on the heels of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks that were seen as dovish for interest rates. In addition, higher metals prices boosted mining stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 47.10 points or 0.82 percent to 5,772.20, off a high of 5,778.70 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is rising 48.50 points or 0.84 percent to 5,848.60. Australian stocks ended little changed on Wednesday.
The major miners are notably higher as iron ore and copper prices rose overnight. Fortescue Metals is higher by 4 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining almost 3 percent and BHP is rising almost 2 percent.
Rio Tinto said it has approved a A$3.5 billion investment in its new Kookaideri iron ore mine, creating 600 permanent jobs in Western Australia.
Gold miners are also higher after gold prices rose overnight. Evolution Mining is up 0.2 percent and Newcrest Mining is adding 0.4 percent.
In the banking sector, National Australia Bank, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ Banking are up in a range of 0.5 percent to almost 1 percent.
Oil stocks are also rising despite a more than 2 percent fall in crude oil prices overnight. Santos is advancing almost 2 percent, Oil Search is adding more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is up 0.5 percent.
Aristocrat Leisure reported a 10 percent increase in full-year profit on a 31 percent growth in revenues, including a more than two-fold jump in digital gambling revenue. However, the gaming company's shares are losing more than 4 percent.
In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that total new capital expenditure in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2018, coming in at A$29.35 billion. That missed forecasts for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 2.5 percent contraction in the three months prior.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar is higher against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.7303, up from $0.7233 on Wednesday.
The Japanese market is rising for a fifth straight day, tracking the overnight rally on Wall Street amid renewed optimism about the outlook for interest rates and despite a stronger yen.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 166.15 points or 0.75 percent to 22,343.17, after rising to a high of 22,437.95 in early trades. Japanese shares rose sharply on Wednesday to extend gains for a fourth consecutive session.
The major exporters are gaining despite a stronger yen. Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are advancing more than 1 percent each, while Canon is adding almost 1 percent and Panasonic is up 0.5 percent.
Among the major automakers, Toyota is up 0.4 percent while Honda is down 0.2 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent.
In the tech sector, Advantest is rising almost 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging down less than 0.1 percent.
In the oil space, Inpex is down 0.2 percent while Japan Petroleum is adding 0.6 percent even as crude oil prices fell more than 2 percent overnight.
Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is gaining more than 11 percent and Recruit Holdings is rising more than 6 percent. Kyocera Corp., Tokuyama Corp. and Mitsubishi Materials are higher by more than 4 percent each.
On the flip side, FamilyMart UNY and Shiseido Co. are losing more than 2 percent each.
On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent on month in October. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.4 percent following the 0.2 percent decline in September.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 113 yen-range on Thursday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is rising more than 1 percent and New Zealand is advancing 1 percent. Singapore, South Korea, Shanghai, Malaysia and Taiwan are also higher, while Hong Kong is modestly lower.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday on the heels of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks in a speech to the Economic Club of New York that were interpreted as dovish for interest rates. Powell noted interest rates are still low by historical standards and said rates are currently "just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy."
The Dow surged up 617.70 points or 2.5 percent to 25,366.43, the Nasdaq spiked 208.89 points or 3 percent to 7,291.59 and the S&P 500 soared 61.61 points or 2.3 percent to 2,743.78.
The major European markets turned in a lackluster performance on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index closed nearly flat, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices fell on Wednesday amid concerns about excess supply in the market. WTI crude oil for January delivery fell $1.27 or 2.5 percent to close at $50.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement in thirteen months.
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