Asian markets sharply higher

Business | 19 Jul 2019 3:30 pm

Regional stocks gained after a top Federal Reserve official cemented expectations of a U.S. interest rate cut later this month, fuelling appetite for riskier assets and keeping a cap on the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up by 1 percent, bouncing back from the previous day’s losses.

New York Fed President John Williams said on Thursday that policymakers could not wait for economic disaster to hit before adding stimulus, in a speech read as a strong argument in favor of quick monetary action.

The comments by Williams made it a virtual certainty the Fed would cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its July 30-31 policy meeting and also fueled expectations of an even deeper 50 basis point reduction.

Tokyo stocks closed sharply higher. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average climbed 420.75 points, or 2.0 percent, to close the day at 21,466.99. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, added 29.69 points, or 1.94 percent, to finish at 1,563.96.

All industry categories advanced into positive territory, with farm and fishery, securities house, and food-related issues comprising those that gained the most by the close of play

South Korean shares extended gains late morning on the back of tech stock gains. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 19.96 points, or 0.97 percent, to trade at 2,086.51 as of 11:20 a.m local time.

Tech stocks led the gains, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics rising by 1.63 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gaining by 1.74 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was up by 0.77 percent at 6,700.30.

Taiwan shares closed up by 73.91 points, or 0.68 percent, at 10,873.19  on turnover of NT$122.57 billion (US$3.95 billion). -Reuters/The Standard 


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