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Asia markets rise ahead of US, Japan bank decisions

Jul 28 2016 07:44

Hong Kong - Asian markets mostly rose on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve prepares to wrap up a key policy meeting, while Tokyo rallied days before an expected Bank of Japan stimulus announcement.

Promises of support from governments and central banks around the world since Britain's shock EU exit vote last month have provided the foundation for big gains across equities markets in recent weeks.

And now investors are hoping officials follow through in their first meetings since the June 23 ballot, which most experts had warned could hit the global economy.

The Federal Reserve concludes its meeting Wednesday and while it is not expected to announce any new policy, dealers are keen to find out its appraisal for the US economy and plans for interest rates in light of a string of positive data, including on jobs.

"In all likelihood, the Fed may take a cautious stance highlighting Brexit concerns, but there is certainly some scope for (it) to lean hawkish," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific.

"If not for Brexit and an outlier May Non-Farm Payroll, the Fed may very well have pulled the trigger (in June).

"Since then, employment data has recovered and the US economic prints continue to beat expectations, providing the (Fed) with more than enough ammunition to provide some straight forward guidance of an impending rate hike."

The BoJ concludes its gathering Friday and is widely tipped to unveil fresh stimulus as the world's number three economy struggles and inflation is virtually non-existent.

'Unpredictable'

But while expectations of new measures have boosted Japanese stocks and sent the yen tumbling - helping exporters - analysts warned of a sharp sell-off if policymakers disappoint.

Tokyo's Nikkei ended the morning up 1.4%, while the dollar rose to ¥105.16 from ¥104.64 in New York.

Among other markets Hong Kong added 0.2% and Shanghai was also 0.2% higher, while Wellington put on 0.2%, Taipei added 0.4% and Sydney was slightly up.

However, Seoul and Singapore each dipped 0.1%.

"The key is whether the BoJ will surprise us again on Friday," Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg Radio.

It "has surprised the market several times in the past few years so they are a little bit unpredictable. There may be a disappointment" if the BoJ fails to deliver extra stimulus, he added.

Regional suppliers of Apple were broadly higher after the US giant reported better-than-expected earnings for the fiscal third quarter and projected above-estimate income for the next three months.

Japan Display rose 1% in Tokyo, while Taipei-listed Hon Hai Precision added 1.4% and LG Display in Seoul gained 0.5%.

equities  |  markets  |  asian markets
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