HONG KONG (AP) — Japan led Asian stocks higher Tuesday on hopes for new stimulus from its central bank while investors were also buoyed by the prospect that the Federal Reserve will wait until next year to raise interest rates.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 percent to 18,198.50 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 1,988.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent to 21,873.39. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7 percent to 5,185.80. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and New Zealand were also higher. Markets in mainland China are closed until Thursday.
CENTRAL BANKERS: Markets are increasingly confident the Federal Reserve will hold off for longer on raising interest rates following last week's jobs report which showed the U.S. economy was creating fewer jobs. Other central banks were a also focus of attention. The Reserve Bank of Australia is holding its October board meeting Tuesday, although analysts expect it to leave interest rates unchanged. Also on the radar is Wednesday's Bank of Japan's policy statement, which comes amid rising hopes for further stimulus to jumpstart the ailing economy.
QUOTABLE: "After a contraction in second quarter of 2015, the (Japanese) economy may be on the precipice of yet another recession," said HSBC economist Izumi Devalier. "This has brought increased speculation among market participants that the Bank of Japan will announce another round of fireworks this month, possibly as early as the regular board meeting scheduled this Wednesday, 7 October" she said. But the central bank "is unlikely to feel forced into additional easing just yet," he said.
PACIFIC PACT: An ambitious trade deal hammered out by the U.S., Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations provided a rosy background to the day's trading. However the Trans-Pacific Partnership won't have much immediate market impact given that it will likely take years for it to come into full effect. Other Asian nations that have signed up include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average added 1.9 percent to close at 16,776.43 on Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 ended 1.8 percent higher at 1,987.05. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.6 percent to 4,781.26.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude slipped 4 cents to $46.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 72 cents to close at $46.26 a barrel in New York on Monday. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 9 cents to $49.96 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was little changed at 120.47 yen from 120.42 yen in the previous day's trading. The euro fell to $1.1183 from $1.1192.