Asian shares rise after Fed signals U.S. rate cut likely

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares rose Thursday in Asia, tracking gains on Wall Street after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the U.S. central bank is ready to cut interest rates for the first time in a decade.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +1.01% jumped 1.2%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.24%  dded 0.3% to 2,924.85. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.48%   climbed 0.5% to 21,638.58 while South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +1.27%  advanced 1.2% to 2,083.79. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 XJO, +0.48%   gained 0.5%. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

“Local equity markets are reveling in the best of both worlds this morning as local investors love nothing more than lower U.S. interest rates and a weaker U.S. dollar,” Stephen Innes of Vanguard Markets said in a commentary.

On Wall Street, technology stocks drove much of the gains, nudging the Nasdaq composite to an all-time high. The benchmark S&P 500 index briefly traded above 3,000 for the first time before pulling back to just below its most recent record high a week ago.

The market climbed early on after the Fed chairman told Congress in his semi-annual report that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut.

That allayed investors’ concerns that unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data reported Friday might give the Fed reason to stay put on interest rates.

The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.45%   rose 0.5% to 2,993.07. The index, which set three record highs last week, is now less than 0.1% below its all-time high set last Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.29%  gained 0.3% to 26,860.20, while the COMP, +0.75%  limbed 0.7% to 8,202.53, a record. Its previous record high was also set last Wednesday.


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