Asian markets up, dealers hang on Yellen remarks

Hong Kong - Most Asian markets rose on Wednesday, tracking a seventh successive record on Wall Street as they wait for the conclusion of a keenly awaited Federal Reserve policy meeting.

After months of betting the Fed will lift interest rates, the big day has arrived and investors will be hanging on every word bank boss Janet Yellen says in her post-meeting conference hoping for clues about future policy.

"The markets are sitting tight waiting for the Fed decision, but more so Dr Yellen's forward outlook and, of course, the accompanying statement," Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, said.

"As is the case with most Fed 'pressers', it will mainly involve deciphering the Feds verbal gymnastics while looking for a smoking gun - tonight's smoking gun will be in the form of a hawkish or dovish Fed lean."

Global equities and the dollar have rallied in the five weeks since Donald Trump won the US election, with traders betting his plans for big spending, tax cuts and deregulation will fan already healthy economic growth.

Expectations that will in turn light a fire under inflation has led to speculation the Fed will be forced to embark on a more aggressive programme of rate hikes that previously thought.

In early trade Hong Kong was up 0.7%, Sydney added 0.9%, and Shanghai and Singapore each gained 0.1%. Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei were also higher. Seoul was flat.

'Santa coming to town'
 
The advances come after the Dow finished at a record high for the seventh successive day and ended just shy of the 20 000 mark.

"Today is one of those days where the folly of trying to make sense of any one day's moves is self-evident," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader.

"Last night we saw a huge rally in US and European stocks, which has propelled the big US indexes to new record highs.

"So much for fear of the US Fed or profit taking, Santa Claus is coming to town it seems," McKenna said.

Tokyo went into the break 0.1% lower, having chalked up seven straight gains and closed Tuesday at its highest level since mid-December.

However, the losses were limited after the Bank of Japan's closely watched Tankan survey showed business confidence among the country's major manufacturers rising for the first time in more than a year.

The Nikkei was also being supported by a weaker yen, which is struggling to recover against the dollar as the Fed prepares to lift borrowing costs.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.15
-0.2%
Rand - Pound
19.96
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.19
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.00
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,843.76
0.0%
Silver
27.42
0.0%
Palladium
2,894.50
0.0%
Platinum
1,229.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.71
+2.5%
Top 40
60,573
+0.6%
All Share
66,598
+0.7%
Resource 10
69,386
-0.1%
Industrial 25
83,277
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,685
+1.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 1456 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 3628 votes
My landlord refused
27% - 1927 votes
Vote