Asian Shares Gain In Thin Trading Ahead Of Fed Meeting

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks rose in thin trading on Monday, with Japanese markets closed for a holiday. Traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on Wednesday after the central bank's preferred inflation gauge largely met expectations.

No change in interest rates is expected, but the post-meeting statement as well as Chair Jerome Powell's press conference may give hints about interest rate moves to come.

The yen surged after briefly hitting 160 against the dollar in early Asian trading on speculation about whether authorities will intervene to support the Japanese currency.

Gold saw modest losses and oil prices were down nearly 1 percent as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stepped up efforts to secure a truce in Gaza in meetings in the Middle East.

On Friday, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda played down the impact of the weak yen on fueling inflation.

Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets posted strong gains even as a fall in March industrial profits raised doubts about China's economic recovery.

China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.8 percent to 3,113.04, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent to 17,746.91.

Property developers paced the gainers on hopes that policymakers will unveil more stimulus measures this week.

Seoul stocks rallied, with the Kospi average jumping 1.2 percent to 2,687.44 on large-cap gains. Chemicals producer LG Chem surged 5.9 percent and leading pharmaceutical manufacturer Celltrion added 4 percent.

Australian markets ended notably higher, led by banks and healthcare stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.8 percent to 7,637.40, marking its best single-day gain since April 22. The broader All Ordinaries Index settled 0.9 percent higher at 7,906.60.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.9 percent to 11,916.24.

U.S. stocks rose sharply Friday on the back of blowout earnings reports from technology heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft as well as inflation data that contained no big surprises.

Data showed that inflation, as measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, held steady at 0.3 percent in March, in line with expectations.

The index rose 2.7 percent year-on-year, above the estimate of 2.6 percent, while the core PCE index came in at 2.8 percent versus expectations for a score of 2.7 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 2 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 1 percent and the Dow edged up 0.4 percent.

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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