TOKYO: Asian stocks were mostly higher in early Wednesday trading, cheered by diminished prospects that U.S. interest rates would be raised soon.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent in morning trading to 18,628.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.3 percent to 5,944.70. Hong Kong Hang Seng was little changed, inching up 0.01 percent to 24,752.20, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent to 1,990.92.
The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index delivered new highs. The Dow ended up 92.35 points, or 0.5 percent, at 18,209.19. That’s up 0.4 percent from its most-recent high of 18,140.44 last Friday. The S&P 500 gained 5.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,115.48. The index also reached its previous high of 2,110.30 on Friday. The Nasdaq gained 7.15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,968.12, finishing higher for the 10th day straight.
Global markets were cheered by comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who told Congress the central bank would be patient about raising interest rates because the job market is still healing and inflation is too low. Lower interest rates make borrowing easier and tend to be a plus for markets.
“Yellen painted an optimistic view of the U.S. economy overall, pointing to improvement in the labor market,” according to the daily market report by the Singapore branch of Mizuho Bank.