Asian Shares Extend Gains On Optimism Over Fed Outlook

Asian stocks rose for a fourth straight session on Monday and the dollar lingered near six-week lows as weak U.S. jobs and service sector activity data released on Friday helped ease worries about further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Gold slipped due to a slight uptick in U.S. Treasury yields as investors took stock of the latest developments in the Middle East and looked ahead to a speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell later this week for more clarity on the interest rate outlook.

Futures markets currently imply an 86 percent chance the first policy easing would come as soon as June. Markets also expect the European Central Bank to cut rates by April and the Bank of England in August.

Oil prices rose about 1 percent in Asian trading after Russia and Saudi Arabia reiterated that they would restrict the supply of crude oil until the end of this year.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 0.9 percent to 3,058.41 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared 1.7 percent to 17,966.59 ahead of Chinese trade and inflation figures due this week.

Japanese shares posted strong gains after Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda said the country was making progress toward stable inflation and monetary conditions will remain sufficiently accommodative to support economic activity.

Investors also digested the minutes of the September BoJ meeting and mixed business activity data for October.

The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 2.4 percent to 32,708.48 to close at a more than one-month high. The broader Topix Index surged 1.6 percent to 2,360.46.

Seoul stocks jumped the most since late March 2020 as authorities re-imposed a ban on short selling until the end of June 2024. The Kospi soared 5.7 percent to 2,502.37, extending its winning streak to a fourth consecutive session. Tech and battery stocks topped the gainers list.

Australian markets eked out cautious gains amid expectations that the Reserve Bank may resume raising rates to control stubborn inflation at a policy meeting on Tuesday.

The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index edged up 0.3 percent to 6,997.40, while the broader All Ordinaries Index inched up 0.2 percent to 7,192.30.

Lender Westpac rose nearly 2 percent after raising its dividend and announcing a share buyback.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index settled 1.3 percent higher at 11,261.22. Healthcare stocks advanced the most, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare climbing 3.4 percent.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday, while the dollar and bond yields dipped after data showed U.S. job growth slowed in October and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly, underscoring views that the Fed is done hiking interest rates.

Data showed employment climbed by 150,000 jobs in October after an addition of a downwardly revised 297,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate crept up to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent in September.

Separate data showed a bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in the month.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.4 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 percent and the Dow added 0.7 percent.

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