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Asian shares gain on prospects for continued low interest rates

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Shutterstock photo - - Asian stocks traded higher Tuesday, after expectations for continued low interest rates helped U.S. and European markets.

The Nikkei 225 was up 1.1%, extending its sixth straight winning session yesterday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6%, ahead of corporate earnings of major firms like BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX:BHP) The company's capital management plans could give the broader market a leg up.

The Shanghai Composite Index ticked higher by 0.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng also rose 0.2%, as investors watched for earnings news. Bank Of China Ltd (HK:3988), down 0.3%, is expected to report its earnings today, giving investors a gauge of the banking sector's health.

Overnight, U.S. stocks posted solid gains after diplomatic efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict appeared to be making progress.

The Dow 30 rose 1.06%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.85%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.97%.

Waning geopolitical concerns in Eastern Europe sparked a rally on Wall Street on Monday.

Russian and Ukraine foreign ministers held talks earlier, and while no resolution to end the conflict emerged, the flow of humanitarian aid deliveries into Ukraine from Russia continued, which calmed nerves in global markets.

Media reports cited a Ukraine official saying that talks in Berlin have brought about "moderate progress," which drew applause in global equities markets as well.

The Ukraine conflict has bruised stock prices in the recent sessions by stoking fears that further escalation can dampen global economic recovery.

On Friday, news that Ukrainian troops destroyed a portion of a Russian column of armored vehicles inside Ukraine rattled nerves across the globe.

Elsewhere, upbeat U.S. data boosted stock prices as well.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased to 55.0 in August, a seven-month high, from 53.0 in July, beating estimates for a reading of 53.0.

A level above 50.0 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales and below indicates a negative outlook.

"As the employment picture brightens, builders are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of serious buyers entering the market," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.

On Tuesday, the U.S. is to release reports on building permits, housing starts and consumer inflation.

Investors are watching an annual meeting of top central bank officials and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from August 21 to 23.

The spotlight will be on Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who will speak on Friday in her first appearance at Jackson Hole as head of the U.S. central bank.

Traders will also pay close attention to the minutes of the Fed's July policy meeting due to be published on Wednesday for further clues about the timing of future interest rate hikes. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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