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Asia: Markets extend rally

Global equities extended their rally in Asia on Thursday, as dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen improved risk-taking appetite.

In her testimony on Capitol Hill, Yellen signaled that the Fed would take a cautious approach to tightening policy in the face of an uncertain inflation outlook.

She said the Fed would continue to raise interest rates gradually, though it would change plans if inflation weakness persisted.

Yellen’s congressional testimony likely indicates the Fed won’t raise rates in September.

Yellen’s comments offered some relief to equity investors, as stocks are at historical highs--helped in part by the availability of cheap money. The Bank of Korea left rates unchanged Thursday, though the Bank of Canada raised rates overnight.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.07%   was recently up 1.1%, leading gains in the region to hit a fresh two-year intraday high. Korea’s Kospi SEU, +1.12%   was up 1% after the rate decision, which wasn’t a surprise, but it indicated that the bank was in no rush to change its stance in spite of an improved growth outlook. Samsung Electronics 005930, +1.80%   was recently 1.7% higher.

Meanwhile, shares of blue-chip Chinese banks were higher in Hong Kong, with Bank of China 3988, +1.60%   up 1.9%, Industrial and Commercial Bank 1398, +1.16%   higher by 2.3% and Agricultural Bank of China 1288, +0.84%   gaining 1.7%. They have been gaining since Beijing injected liquidity into the interbank market on Wednesday for the first time since June 19, easing concerns about a liquidity squeeze.

Finance stocks also drove gains in Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +1.05%  , which added 0.8% to almost make up for losses in the previous session. Among key bank stocks, Westpac WBC, +1.74%   rose 1.2%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA, +0.79%   rose 0.5% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ, +0.99%   gained 0.6%.

In Japan, a slightly weaker yen helped support the Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.05%   — which was recently up 0.2% — as a cheaper currency makes the country’s exports more competitive. Stocks of construction machinery and car makers rose, with Hitachi 6501, +0.77%   advancing 1% and Mitsubishi Motors 7211, +0.40%   up 1.1%. The U.S. dollar-yen pair JPYUSD, +0.237378%   was last at 113.18, up from 113.04 late Wednesday in New York.

Still, the market rally on Thursday may prove to be short-lived, as investors take stock of the sharp year-to-date gains in many key markets.

Source: marketwatch.com

Global equities extended their rally in Asia on Thursday, as dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen improved risk-taking appetite.

In her testimony on Capitol Hill, Yellen signaled that the Fed would take a cautious approach to tightening policy in the face of an uncertain inflation outlook.

She said the Fed would continue to raise interest rates gradually, though it would change plans if inflation weakness persisted.

Yellen’s congressional testimony likely indicates the Fed won’t raise rates in September.

Yellen’s comments offered some relief to equity investors, as stocks are at historical highs--helped in part by the availability of cheap money. The Bank of Korea left rates unchanged Thursday, though the Bank of Canada raised rates overnight.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.07%   was recently up 1.1%, leading gains in the region to hit a fresh two-year intraday high. Korea’s Kospi SEU, +1.12%   was up 1% after the rate decision, which wasn’t a surprise, but it indicated that the bank was in no rush to change its stance in spite of an improved growth outlook. Samsung Electronics 005930, +1.80%   was recently 1.7% higher.

Meanwhile, shares of blue-chip Chinese banks were higher in Hong Kong, with Bank of China 3988, +1.60%   up 1.9%, Industrial and Commercial Bank 1398, +1.16%   higher by 2.3% and Agricultural Bank of China 1288, +0.84%   gaining 1.7%. They have been gaining since Beijing injected liquidity into the interbank market on Wednesday for the first time since June 19, easing concerns about a liquidity squeeze.

Finance stocks also drove gains in Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +1.05%  , which added 0.8% to almost make up for losses in the previous session. Among key bank stocks, Westpac WBC, +1.74%   rose 1.2%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA, +0.79%   rose 0.5% and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ, +0.99%   gained 0.6%.

In Japan, a slightly weaker yen helped support the Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.05%   — which was recently up 0.2% — as a cheaper currency makes the country’s exports more competitive. Stocks of construction machinery and car makers rose, with Hitachi 6501, +0.77%   advancing 1% and Mitsubishi Motors 7211, +0.40%   up 1.1%. The U.S. dollar-yen pair JPYUSD, +0.237378%   was last at 113.18, up from 113.04 late Wednesday in New York.

Still, the market rally on Thursday may prove to be short-lived, as investors take stock of the sharp year-to-date gains in many key markets.

Source: marketwatch.com

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