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Asia Markets Rally On U.S. Central Bank Outlook; Japan Falters on Stronger Yen

Tablet displaying intraday stock performance

Asian markets Wednesday embraced the Tuesday speech to the Economic Club of New York by U.S. Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen, who expressed caution over the results of a tightening money policy on developing nations. The "go slow" message ignited a regional rally, excepting Tokyo, which fell on a stronger yen, considered a negative in export-oriented Japan.

The Nikkei 225 retreated 1.31% on the yen, a result of expectations of a softer U.S. dollar this year, based on an easier U.S. central-bank stance. In other news, Japan industrial output slumped in February, down 6.2% from January, the weakest showing in three years, and soft oils also undercut the market, said analysts.

The broad measure Nikkei 225 fell 224.57 to 16,878.96, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 195 to 26.

Leading the upside on a down day were consumer-electronics house Sharp (SHCAY, 2319:Tokyo), up 3.85% on merger talk; camera-maker Olympus (OCPNY, 6753:Tokyo), up 2.38%; and then pharmaceutical concern Nippon Kayaku (NPKYY:Tokyo), up 1.32%.

On the downside were conglomerate Dowa Holdings (DWMNF, 5714:Tokyo), off 6.67%; and then food company Ajinomoto (AJINY, 2802:Tokyo), off 6.13%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index Wednesday rose 2.15% as traders embraced the comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief, with the broad gauge Hang Seng rising 437.09 to 20,803.39, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 48 to two.

Leading the upside were food companies, including China Mennui Dairy (2319:HK), up 11.40% on a brokerage upgrade; followed by noodle-maker Tingyi Cayman (322:HK), up 7.88%; and then confectioner Want Want China (151:HK), up 7.20%.

On the downside were shoe-retailer Belle International (1880:HK), off 6.20% after a profit-warning; and then oil-driller China Shenhua Energy (1088:HK), off 1.97%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SHCOMP) rose 2.77% to 3,000.65.

On other exchanges, in Mumbai the Sensex rose 1.69%; the S. Korean Kospi upped 0.36%; the Thai Set rose 1.25%; the Singapore Straits Times index inclined 1.90%; the Taiwan TWSE rose 1.39%, and the resource-heavy Australian S&P ASX/200 rose 0.11%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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