Asian Equities Higher Before Fed

Asian stocks shook off a slow start and rose on Wednesday, led by China shares, while the dollar marked time as markets waited for the Federal Reserve’s policy statement for clues to when U.S. interest rates will rise.  Following Asia’s lead, spreadbetters forecast a slightly higher open for Britain’s FTSE .FTSE, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI and France’s CAC .FCHI although caution towards the Fed’s statement due later in the day was expected to limit gains.

Bouncing back from an earlier dip, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.5 percent.  Chinese shares, already sitting atop multi-year highs, rallied for a sixth straight day. Soft Chinese data failed to dampen sentiment and instead raised hopes Beijing would make fresh stimulus moves.

The Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC reached its highest since May 2008, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, South Korea’s Kospi and Malaysian and Thai stocks also gained.  Japan’s Nikkei .N225 erased early losses to rise 0.6 percent and reach a fresh 15-year high. Australian shares also clawed out of the red and were flat.


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