Asian stocks follow Wall St up as Powell says rates to rise

Business

In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, Robert Charmak, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Stocks fell broadly in afternoon trading on Wall Street Monday and bond yields continued rising as investors anticipate moves by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. (Courtney Crow/New York Stock Exchange via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said monetary policy would return to normal and interest rates might be raised earlier than planned.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices edged higher.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.9% after Powell said policy “in all likelihood” will return to normal as bond purchases and other economic stimulus winds down. Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, he said ultra-low rates might be raised earlier than planned if necessary to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high.

“Wall Street now has a better understanding on how the Fed will normalize policy,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report. “After Powell’s testimony, some investors feel they got the all-clear signal to buy the dip.”

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2% to 3,574.61 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1.9% to 28,748.21. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.9% to 24,193.22.

The Kospi in Seoul added 1.4% to 2,969.16 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.6% higher at 7,438.20. New Zealand retreated while Southeast Asian markets gained.

Investors were rattled in mid-December when Fed officials said they would accelerate plans to wind down stimulus that is boosting stock prices. They have been trying to figure out how the world’s biggest economy and financial markets will react.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 broke a five-day series of declines and rose to 4,713.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5% to 36,252.02. The Nasdaq composite advanced 1.4% to 15,153.45.

Apple rose 1.7% and chipmaker Nvidia rose 1.5%. Communication stocks and a mix of retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending rose. Facebook parent Meta Platforms gained 1.9% and Gap rose 3%.

The World Bank cut its forecast for global economic growth this year to 4.1% from 4.3% due in part to supply chain disruptions that fueled inflation. The agency estimates the world economy grew by 5.5% in 2021.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government is due to report consumer inflation. That is followed Thursday by an index of wholesale prices.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $81.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.99 on Tuesday to $81.22. Brent crude, used as the price basis for international oils, was 19 cents higher at $83.91 per barrel in London. It gained $2.85 the previous session to $83.72.

The dollar edged down to 115.33 yen from Tuesday’s 115.37 yen. The euro rose to $1.1375 from $1.1366.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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