SEOUL: Asian stocks markets jumped Tuesday as investors second guessed what signals the Federal Reserve will give on interest rate hikes at its policy meeting this week.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 percent to 19,411.57 and South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.5 percent to 2,017.19. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.3 percent to 24,023.69 and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.8 percent to 3,475.77, extending its gain from the previous session. Stocks in Australia and Southeast Asia were also higher.
Whether the Fed will drop the word “patient” in describing its timetable for raising interest rates from a record low is the focal point for investors this week. IG market strategist Evan Lucas said “all but half a handful of economists” expect the word to be removed from the statement the Fed will issue on Wednesday. But estimates of when the first rate hike will come are swinging between mid-year and later in the year. Weak U.S. economic data Monday pushed expectations toward later in the year. Last week, strong U.S. jobs had many picking mid-year. Stock markets have been boosted for several years by low interest rates.