Investing.com - Shares in Asia gained on Friday in light trade with investors looking ahead to key central bank meetings in Japan and the U.S. next week.
The Nikkei 225 rose 0.39%, while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.07% with China and several other markets shut regionally for holidays.
Shares rose in Asia as U.S. retail sales data dampened expectations for a rate hike by the Federal Reserve in the coming months. The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales fell 0.3% in August, worse than expectations for a 0.1% decline. It was the first decline in five months.
In a separate report, the Department of Labor said the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, pointing to further tightening in the labor market. But the Labor Department also reported that U.S. producer prices were flat in August.
The data indicated that the Fed is likely to leave interest rates unchanged at its next meeting. According to Investing.com's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, investors are pricing in just a 12% chance of a rate hike at the Fed's September 20-21 meeting.
Fed Governor Lael Brainard said Monday that the case to tighten monetary policy in the coming months is less compelling. The Fed raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade in December.
Overnight, U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Technology, Telecoms and Oil & Gas sectors led shares higher.
At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.99%, while the S&P 500 index gained 1.01%, and the NASDAQ Composite index gained 1.47%.
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