By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets gained Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, but indicated it is ready to make ease monetary policy if needed.
The Fed said it will “closely monitor” the economy given increasing uncertainty about government policy, though it signaled it may not need to lower rates before 2020. But Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates if necessary.
There was also encouraging news on the trade front, as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he plans to meet his Chinese counterpart ahead of the G-20 summit next week. “When actual negotiations begin again, I can’t say at this point,” Lighthizer said. “We’re talking. We’re going to meet.” The U.S. and China broke off trade negotiations in early May and have not met since.
Leading the Asian region higher, the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -1.95% surged 2% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -0.31% advanced 1.7%.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -1.06% rose 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.84% gained 0.9%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -0.81% was up 0.2%, while Singapore’s /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.63% benchmark index jumped 0.9% and indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -0.98% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.43% were modestly up. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.61% rose 0.5%.
Among individual stocks, Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 -3.34% rose in Tokyo trading, along with Sony /zigman2/quotes/201361720/delayed JP:6758 +1.39% and e-commerce company Rakuten /zigman2/quotes/201861450/delayed JP:4755 -1.59% . In Hong Kong, Geely Automobile /zigman2/quotes/200716015/delayed HK:175 +3.90% , parent of Volvo Cars, gained after announcing a deal with Sweden’s Zenuity to supply it with self-driving software . China Life Insurance /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 -6.70% and Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -2.93% also rose. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -0.19% inched down in South Korea and Foxconn /zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed TW:2354 -1.55% advanced in Taiwan. Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/200083756/delayed AU:RIO -0.69% sank in Australia, while Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -2.41% gained.