Tokyo, Japan (BBN) – Shares in Asia were mostly positive on Thursday, following Wall Street’s higher close after the Federal Reserve raised rates but kept a dovish stance.
The Japanese benchmark, Nikkei 225, fell just 0.07 per cent as the yen strengthened against the weaker dollar, reports CNBC.
Down Under, the ASX 200 was up 0.27 per cent.
Australia’s unemployment rate in February rose to 5.9 per cent, higher than the expected 5.7 per cent.
The unemployment rise to 5.9 per cent is a bit of a slap in the face for RBA governor Philip Lowe who, only recently, said he’d like to see it move lower.
This makes it the highest since January 2016 and above the 12-month average of 5.7.
The Australian government is set to spend up to A$2 billion ($1.54 billion) to expand the output of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric scheme by up to 50 per cent to help solve a power crisis.
South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.78 per cent.
China’s Shanghai composite shot up 0.67 per cent in early trade and the Shenzhen composite rose 0.69 per cent.
Shenzhen-listed ZTE resumed trade on Thursday after an eight-day hiatus, and added 10 per cent to hit the maximum allowed move.
The telecommunications equipment supplier had plead guilty to violating US sanctions on Iran, and paid nearly $900 million in settlements.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.4 per cent.
On central bank watch, the Bank of Japan and Bank Indonesia will announce monetary policy decisions today.
The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a target range of 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent in a widely-telegraphed move.
The rate hike comes amid growing confidence that the economy is poised for more growth.
The central bank also indicated that it still expects three moves, as each Fed members’ expectations for where rates will be in coming years changed little from the last meeting.
“Even though the dot plot is not relevant because so much can change, the Fed reminded us all of the gradual nature of their expected behavior on this rate hike cycle,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, in a Wednesday note.
US stocks closed higher on Wednesday, as oil prices bounced back and the Fed took a less hawkish stance than expected.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.54 per cent to finish at 20,950.1, the S&P 500 rose 0.84 per cent to close at 2,385.26 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.74 per cent to 5,900.05.
During Asian trade, Brent crude futures were up 0.66 percent to $52.15 a barrel, and US crude gained 0.57 per cent to $49.14.
Oil prices climbed for the first time in a week on Wednesday during US hours on a surprise drawdown in US crude inventories.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) also suggested that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries output cuts could create a crude deficit in the first half of 2017, Reuters reported.
The weaker dollar after the Fed raised rates as expected also helped to make the greenback-denominated crude less expensive for holders of other currencies.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies, slipped below the 101 handle to trade at 100.54 early Asian time.
Against the dollar, the yen was stronger at 113.3 compared to levels above 114 yesterday and the Australian dollar was stronger at $0.7690.
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