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Asia stocks broadly higher on Fed hopes; Nikkei gains 0.6%

Forexpros - Asian stock markets advanced on Monday, as comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke boosted appetite for riskier assets, while shares in Japan gained after Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda was elected as the country's next prime minister.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.5%, Australia's ASX/200 Index rallied 1.7%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced 0.6%.

In a highly-anticipated speech at the central bank's annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed Chair Bernanke said the central bank remained prepared to implement fresh measures to stimulate the faltering U.S. economy.

Bernanke added that the Fed expects "a moderate recovery" to continue and strengthen over time.

Bernanke also announced that the central bank's September policy-setting meeting would be extended to two days from one, in order to "allow a fuller discussion" on the economy.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Finance Minister Noda defeated Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaeida to become the country's sixth prime minister in five years.

Shares in Japanese exporters performed strongly, boosted by an upbeat outlook for export earnings. Consumer electronics giant Sony saw shares gain 2.85%, while semiconductor manufacturer Elpida Memory jumped 3.2%.

But automakers were lower after the Nikkei Newspaper reported of possible shortages in passenger-vehicle tires and auto parts would hamper production. Toyota shares dropped 1.9%, while Honda slumped 1.25%.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, shares in oil and gas giant Sinopec surged 7.5% after reporting first-half net profit rose 12% to CNY41.17 billion, as higher oil prices bolstered results.

The upbeat results boosted other shares in the sector, with PetroChina shares climbing 2.85% and CNOOC shares up 3.2%.

Elsewhere, the outlook for European stock markets was upbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a gain of 1.3%, France's CAC 40 futures rose 1.25%, the FTSE 100 futures jumped 1.2%, while Germany's DAX futures indicated a string gain of 1.7%.

Later in the day, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was appearing before the European Parliament's Economic Committee in Brussels, to testify on the region's debt crisis, while the U.S. was to release industry data on pending home sales.

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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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