Asian Stocks Rise Amid Global Equities Rally; H.K. Extends Gain

  • MSCI’s benchmark rises most in six days before Fed’s minutes
  • ‘Modest’ gains mean investors ‘a little bit cautious’: Rivkin

Markets Are Sure Fed Hikes Rates, but Unsure When

Asian stocks extended the rally in equities worldwide after U.S. shares climbed to fresh records amid optimism global growth has started to accelerate.

The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5 percent to 145.99, its highest level since July 2015, as of 4:19 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gains come after the S&P 500 Index reset its all-time high Tuesday amid better-than-expected results from retailers and optimism the Trump administration will only bolster already-strengthening economies. Hong Kong stocks rose the most in the region, driven by property shares, while Japan’s Topix closed at a 14-month high. The Federal Reserve releases minutes later Wednesday from its February meeting.

"Asia is modest at this moment, not as high as we expected after such a strong lead from U.S. last night," said James Woods, a Sydney-based investment analyst at Rivkin Securities. "With the release of the Fed minutes tonight, I think investors are just a little bit cautious ahead of that,” waiting for clues as to whether the probability of March interest-rate hike is increasing.

Summary

  • Japan’s Topix +0.1%, Nikkei 225 little changed; yen +0.1% to 113.57/USD 
    • Rakuten Inc. jumps 9.4% after announcing a buyback plan at half the price of a 2015 issue
    • Toshiba Corp. surges 22%; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. eyes bidding for Toshiba semiconductor ops: Nikkan Kogyo
  • Hang Seng Index +1%, HSCEI +1.2%
    • Hang Seng Property Index +2%, China Resources Land Ltd. +5%, China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. +3.6%, New World Development Co. +3.5% 
  • Shanghai Composite +0.2%
  • ASX 200 +0.2%
  • Sensex +0.3%, BSE 100 little changed
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