Asian Markets Rally Post Rate Lift-Off And On Fed Outlook

Asian markets Thursday broadly gained in the global rally that followed Wednesday's "lift off" for the U.S. Federal Reserve's federal funds rate. Overnight gains on Wall Street set the tone, as did upswings on European bourses.

The Nikkei 225 rose 1.59% as traders also viewed a softer yen, and a report of record tourism to Japan in 2015. A softer yen is regarded as a positive in export-oriented Japan, and the Japanese tourism market is booming. The official Tourism Agency reported today that it expects 20 million visitors to Japan in 2015, up 49.1% from 2014.

The broad measure Nikkei 225 opened higher and then traded sideways on the plateau throughout the day, finishing up 303.65 to 19,353.56, as gainers outnumbered losers 202 to 18. Leading the upside were retailer Marui Group (MAURY, 8252:Tokyo), up 6.83%; followed by utility Kansai Electric (KAEPY, 9503:Tokyo), up 5.12% and then satellite TV broadcaster Sky Perfect (SKPJF, 9412:Tokyo), up 5.06%. On the downside were chemical-and-electronics conglomerate Taiyo Yuden (TYOYF, 6976:Tokyo), off 4.82% and then electronic-components maker TDK Corp. (TTDKY, 6762: Tokyo), off 4.06%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index Thursday rose 0.79% as traders took relief that the consensus outlook on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board is for gradual rate increases. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar, so Fed tightening has a direct impact on the competitiveness of the former crown colony.

The broad gauge Hang Seng gained 170.85 to 21,872.06, as gainer outnumbered losers 37 to 13. Leading the upside were the Bank of East Asia (23:HK), up 3.58%; followed by Macau gaming house Sands China (1928:HK), up 3.54%; and then bank-holding giant HSBC (5:HK), up 2.83%. On the downside were state oil-driller CNOON (883:HK), off 2.20%; and then PetroChina (857:HK), off 1.89%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite index (SHCOMP) rose 1.81%. China Southern Airlines placed a $10 billion order for Boeing ( BA ) jetliners.

On other markets Thursday, the Indian Sensex gained 0.90%; the S. Korean Kospi gained 0.43%; the Thai Set gained 1.03%; and the Singapore SGX gained 1.46%.The Australian S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.46%.

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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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