Investing.com - Asian stocks traded broadly higher Thursday after the Federal Reserve surprised investors by saying it will not alter its quantitative easing efforts.
In Asian trading Thursday, Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.54% after the the Ministry of Finance said Japan's trade balance rose to negative JPY790 billion in August from negative JPY910 billion in July. The July figured was revised up from negative JPY940 billion. Analysts expected an August reading of negative JPY810 billion.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.71%. The Shanghai Composite was closed for a public holiday.
The U.S. central bank "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases," it said in a statement.
The news sparked a rally in riskier assets that lifted U.S. stocks to new record highs. Most economists expected the Fed would pare its USD85 billion-per-month bond-buying program by USD10 billion to USD15 billion, although they also forecast that such a move would not have much of an impact on financial markets.
Australia's S&P/ASX added 1% to trade to its highest levels since June 2008. Confirming the risk-on nature of the rally, mining and materials names led Australian shares higher.
New Zealand's NZSE 50 climbed 0.95% after Statistics New Zealand said the country's second-quarter GDP rose 2.5%, beating the consensus estimate of 2.3%. While agriculture output fell 10%, construction climbed 15%, led by gains in housing and infrastructure projects.
"The cumulative effect of the drought has been significant," Statistics New Zealand said in a report. "Because of the strong increase in slaughter numbers, especially for dairy cows, it may take longer to recover from than previous droughts."
South Korea's Kospi was closed for a holiday. Singapore's Straits Times Index jumped 1.56%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.10% a day after the benchmark U.S. index surged 1.22% to a record high.
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