Markets

Asian Shares Firm Ahead of Yellen, Japan Closed

Asian stocks firmed but cautious ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's first speech on Tuesday. Trading was light with Japan closed for a holiday.

Australian shares rose, helped by some positive data. Australian business conditions rose to a near three-year high in January while residential property prices rose more-than-expected in Q4. NAB's business conditions index rose to +4 in January from +3 in December, while its business confidence index climbed to +8 from +6. House prices rose 9.3% compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Economists had expected a 3% rise versus the previous quarter.

However, the number of Australian home-loan approvals fell a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in December from November. Economists surveyed ahead of the announcement had expected a rise of 1.0%

In China, investors are hopeful that the government will launch more supportive policy measures.

They also were awaiting the debut of Foshan Haitian Flavoring & Food Co., the second-largest Chinese IPO since the country lifted its more-than-one year moratorium in January.

The Hang Seng closed up 1.78% at 21,962.98 and Shanghai up 0.84% at 2,103.67, the highest level in more than a month.

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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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