Investing.com - Asian shares followed the U.S., gaining on Thursday after the Federal REserve hiked interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Nikkei 225 jumped 2.08%, while the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.33%% and the Shanghai Composite edged 0.17% higher. In Asia, Japan reported its trade balance for November was a deficit of Y380.0 billion, narrower than the deficit of ¥446 billion seen.
Overnight, U.S. stocks surged on Wednesday afternoon after the Federal Reserve calmed markets by approving its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade, sending a signal to investors that the economy is close to recovering fully from the devastating Financial Crisis of 2008.
In a unanimous vote, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) lifted its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points to a range between 0.25 and 0.50%. Before Wednesday's decision, the FOMC had held short-term interest rates at near zero levels for 56 consecutive meetings, a streak which dated back to December, 2008.
"This action marks the end of an extraordinary seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was held near zero to support the recovery of the economy from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression," Fed chair Janet Yellen said at a press conference in Washington.
The major indices were relatively unchanged immediately after the announcement, until a surge in financial stocks led to a sharp rally just before the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 224.18 or 1.28% to 17,749.09, while the NASDAQ Composite index gained 75.77 or 1.52% to 5,071.13, as investors on Wall Street took a collective sigh relief after waiting more than a year for lift-off, following the conclusion of the Fed's comprehensive quantitative easing program.
The S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, rose 29.66 or 1.45% to 2,073.07, as stocks in nine of 10 sectors closed in the green. Stocks in the Utilities, Telecommunications and Consumer Goods industries led, each gaining more than 1.75% on the session.
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