MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian stocks rose Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and forecast it will raise rates more gradually than it had envisioned last year.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3 percent to 17,200.39. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.1 percent to 20,474.40. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 1.2 percent to 5,239.00. Shanghai's composite index slipped 0.2 percent at 2,862.90, but South Korea's KOSPI added 1.2 percent to 1,997.32. Southeast Asian markets also were higher.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "Asia markets soared this morning," said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore. "With ECB, BOJ and the FED decisions all settled for this and from last week, equity markets may finally take a breath and embrace a relief rebound. "
WALL STREET GAINS: Stocks are now on track for a fifth straight week of gains and the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at their highest levels since the first trading day of the year. The Dow gained 74.23 points Wednesday, or 0.4 percent, to 17,325.76. The S&P 500 index rose 11.29 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,027.22. The Nasdaq composite index rose 35.30 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,763.97.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 65 cents to $39.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising $2.12 to $38.46 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose 31 cents at $40.64 a barrel. On Wednesday it gained $1.59 to $40.33.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.69 yen from 112.77 in the previous day's trading. The euro rose to $1.1219 from $1.1215.