Japan stocks
Tokyo, Japan (BBN)-Japanese stocks are headed for the highest closing value in 15 years after the Federal Reserve indicated interest rates will be kept on hold for longer.
Both the Nikkei 225 and broader Topix index rose 0.4% in early Tokyo trade, reports BBC.
They were also lifted by data showing Japan’s trade deficit more than halved in January due to lower oil prices and a strong rise in exports.
The shortfall shrank to 1.2tn yen ($9.9bn; £6.4bn) from 2.8tn yen a year earlier, which beat market forecasts.
Over in Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3% after falling commodity prices hit mining and energy-related stocks.
The rest of Asia is mostly closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam are shut.
The Federal Reserve released the minutes of their January meeting overnight, where investors were watching for signs that the US central bank may raise interest rates for the first time since 2006.
Fed officials said the stronger US dollar and concerns about the stability of the eurozone inclined them toward keeping borrowing costs near zero for a longer time.
Japan’s central bank also kept their monetary policy unchanged when they met on Wednesday.
The Bank of Japan said the economy is recovering moderately and indicated no change to their massive stimulus programme.
BBN/SK/AD-19Feb15-10:20am (BST)