Asian stocks up after Fed’s minutes

TOKYO – Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday as the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting signaled that the U.S. central bank will soon act to boost growth.

Investors also took heart from Intel Corp.’s better-than-expected earnings results, which came after the closing bell Tuesday. Intel said its net income leaped 59 percent and sales rose 18 percent, both beating analyst expectations.

Japan‘s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index gained 80.83 points, or 0.9 percent, to 9,469.47 in the morning session.

South Korea‘s Kospi increased 0.2 percent to 1,872.77. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4 percent at 4,636.6.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 23,214.99. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.3 percent to 2,832.879. Markets in Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan all advanced.

Sentiment was upbeat across Asia after the minutes from the Fed’s meeting on Sept. 21 suggested the U.S. central bank is almost certain to take steps to shore up a recovery in the world’s No. 1 economy at its next meeting in early November.

Investors carefully read the Fed’s minutes released on Tuesday for clues on whether the U.S. central bank will act to stimulate the economy.

The minutes showed the Fed was concerned that the economy was growing slower than it had expected. Fed officials said in the minutes that they were prepared to provide additional relief “before long.” Traders took that as a strong sign that the Fed is ready to act.

Global stocks have rallied in recent weeks as investors bet the Fed will enact the bond-buying program in early November. Buying bonds would drive interest rates and yields even lower, which makes stocks a more attractive investment.

In New York on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.06 points, or 0.09 percent, to 11,020.40.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 81.85 yen from 81.78 yen in New York late Tuesday. The U.S. currency hit a 15-year-low of 81.37 yen on Monday. The euro rose to $1.3973 from $1.3849 at midday Tuesday in New York.

Benchmark crude for November delivery fell 54 cents to settle at $81.67 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Source: Associated Press

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