Asian Shares See Cautious Gains Ahead Of Powell’s Speech

Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Friday after data showed the U.S. economy didn’t contract by as much as previously thought during the spring.

All eyes were on Fed Chair Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium due later in the day after several Fed officials stressed the need to keep raising rates to combat inflation. Investors hope that his speech will shed light on plans for more interest rate hikes.

Kansas City Fed president Esther George said Thursday that there is more work to be done to curb inflation but it was too soon to predict the size of the September rate hike.

Chinese shares gave up early gains to end lower despite news of a U.S.-China agreement on audit inspections. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.3 percent to 3,236.32, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 1 percent higher at 20,170.04.

Japanese shares ended off their day’s highs, with the Nikkei 225 Index closing 0.6 percent higher at 28,641.38, led by industrials. The broader Topix ended up 0.2 percent at 1,979.59.

Tech stocks such as Advantest and Tokyo Electron climbed 1-2 percent. Startup investor SoftBank Group added 1.2 percent, buoyed by news of possible progress for China and the United States to hammer out an audit deal,

Seoul stocks extended gains for a third day running ahead of the gathering of central bankers in the United States. The Kospi edged up 0.2 percent to settle at 2,481.03. Chipmaker SK Hynix and battery maker LG Energy Solution both rose over 1 percent.

Australian markets rose notably as strong iron ore prices lifted mining stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 0.8 percent to 7,104.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index gained 0.7 percent to end at 7,345.80.

Bega Cheese shares soared 11.8 percent after the dairy firm revealed a “milestone” revenue jump and a positive outlook for the coming year.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 11,608.29. Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Adrian Orr told Bloomberg Television in an interview today that the economy is unlikely to see a technical recession.

U.S. stocks closed on a strong note overnight, as jobless claims declined in the latest week and a revision for Q2 GDP showed a smaller decline compared to an earlier reading.

The Dow rallied 1 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 1.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.7 percent.

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