Asian shares rise on Fed rate hopes despite China worries
TOKYO — Asian shares gained Thursday, although optimism about the Federal Reserve holding back on aggressive interest rate raises was countered by some uncertainty about coronavirus restrictions in China.
Trading was relatively muted in Asia ahead of U.S. markets being closed for Thanksgiving. Benchmarks rose in early trading in Japan, Australia and South Korea, but fell in Shanghai. Oil prices fell.
“A headwind for Asian markets is the COVID situation in China, where investors seem to be avoiding local assets and commodities as the country is seeing near-record numbers of COVID cases. Broad restrictions will keep weighing on risk sentiment and macroeconomic fundamentals, putting pressure on the outlook for cyclical stocks and commodities,” said Anderson Alves at ActivTrades.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.3% in morning trading to 28,470.82, following a national holiday Wednesday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,253.00. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5% to 2,430.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5% to 17,616.00, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1% to 3,093.51.
Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting showed central bank officials agreed that smaller rate hikes would likely be appropriate “soon.”
That suggests policymakers are seeing signs that inflation may be cooling as the economy slows with more costly borrowing.