HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets rose Wednesday following strong gains on Wall Street, as traders awaited news from the US Federal Reserve about interest rate plans for the world’s largest economy.
Tokyo gained 1.46 per cent, or 224.00 points to close at 15,553.91 while Seoul jumped 1.84 per cent, or 35.49 points, to end on 1,961.17.
Hong Kong was up 1.27 per cent, or 299.51 points to 23,819.87, while Shanghai rallied 1.50 per cent, or 35.16 points, to 2,373.03 at the close, after Monday’s sell-off, sparked by news of a delay in plans for a cross-trading platform between the two markets.
Sydney bucked the regional trend, slipping 0.09 per cent, or 4.90 points, to finish at 5,447.7.
Wall Street provided a healthy lead, with the Dow jumping back above 17,000 on Tuesday following a strong report on US consumer confidence and another round of mostly solid corporate earnings.
The Fed ends a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, with traders expecting the central bank to end the vast asset-purchase stimulus programme credited with propping up US growth after the 2008 financial crisis.
Economists and traders widely anticipate that the Federal Open Market Committee will use a post-meeting statement, due at 1800 GMT, to announce the end of the six-year-old “quantitative easing” scheme.
But traders are more interested in what policymakers have to say about interest rates.
The Fed is expected to stay the course on near-zero rates, after repeatedly saying the first rise would come “a considerable time” after the bond-buying stops.
On foreign exchange markets the greenback fetched 108.12 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade against 108.16 yen in New York. The euro was nearly flat at $1.2737 from $1.2733 and 137.73 yen against 137.74 yen.
Oil prices edged higher as traders awaited the Fed statement and looked to the weekly US inventories report due Wednesday, which will give clues about demand in the world’s top crude consumer.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose 29 cents to $81.71 while Brent crude for December was up 38 cents at $86.41 in afternoon trade.
US oil reserves are expected to have risen by 3.1 million barrels in the week to October 24, according to the consensus estimate of analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal.