Asian Markets Close Higher On Global Rallies, Fed Outlook

Asian stock markets rallied Wednesday, following overnight and pre-bell gains on European bourses and on Wall Street. The markets have evidently already priced in a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and may be anticipating a stronger U.S. dollar to pull up regional exports, said analysts. The Fed's decision to render a rate hike or not will be made public early Thursday a.m., Asian times.

Worries about capital outflow from Asia following a Fed rate hike appear muted, said analysts.

The Nikkei 225 Wednesday rose 2.6% after two days of declines, helped by a softer yen, considered a positive in export-oriented Japan. The broad measure Nikkei 225 opened higher and then rose again in the afternoon session to close up 484.01 to 19,049.91, as gainers outnumbered losers 184 to 39.

Leading the upside were mobile-phone service NTT Ducomo (DCM, 9437:Tokyo), up 6.54%; followed by homebuilder Diawa House (DWAHY,1925:Tokyo), up 5.32%; and then Mizuho Financial (MFG, 8411:Tokyo), up 5.27%. On the downside were direct TV broadcaster SkyPerfect (SKPJY, 9412:Tokyo), off 4.68%; and then utility Tokyo Electric, aka Tepco (TKECF, 9501:Tokyo), off 1.92%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose 2% Wednesday as traders took courage from Wednesday's generally mild U.S. CPI release. While a Fed rate hike appears priced-in, a tame U.S. inflation outlook could obviate the need for further hikes, said analysts. The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 426.84 to close at 21,701.21, as gainers outnumbered losers 44 to six.

Leading the upside were China Petroleum (386:HK), up 7.32%; followed by PetroChina (857:HK), up 4.95%; and then shoe-retailer Belle International (1880:HK), up 4.20%. On the downside were utility conglomerate Power Assets (6:HK), off 1.27%; and then utility CLP Holdings (2:HK), off 0.39%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SHCOMP) traded up 0.17% to 3,516.19. In other exchanges, the Korean Kospi closed up 1.88%; the Indian Sensex closed down 0.68%; the Thai SET closed down 0.11%; and Sydney, the S&P ASX/200, was up 2.42%.

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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