Asian stocks rose, with the regional gauge rebounding from a five-week low, as data showing an improvement in U.S. factory output boosted optimism in the world’s biggest economy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent to 134.65 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge slumped 3.5 percent last week as data on Chinese industrial production and retail sales disappointed investors. Factory output in the U.S. rose in February by the most in six months, indicating the industry started to recover from severe winter weather, according to a report by the Federal Reserve, which is starting a two-day monetary policy meeting today.
“We’ve seen an improvement in industrial production after the cold weather and that’s positive,” Keith Poore, who helps manage $131 billion as Wellington-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., said by phone. “Tapering doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue for investors, who are more concerned on when the Fed will start raising interest rates. We don’t expect an interest-rate hike this year.”
The Fed Open Market Committee will further scale back their bond-buying program at the meeting, reducing purchases for the third time by $10 billion to $55 billion per month, according to 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg March 14-17.