Asian Stocks Extend Five-Month High After Yellen Rate Comments

Asian stocks gained, with the regional benchmark extending a five-month high, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated an increase in interest rates is unlikely before mid-year.

Techtronic Industries Co., a maker of power tools that gets about 73 percent of sales from North America, climbed 3.8 percent in Hong Kong. Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. gained 7.7 percent in Seoul after being upgrade to buy at Samsung Securities Co. Sands China Ltd. slipped 5.8 percent, pacing losses among casino operators, amid weak gambling revenue over the Lunar New Year holiday period. Genting Singapore Plc dropped 6.2 percent after reporting a slump in profit.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6 percent to 146.20 as of 4:17 p.m. in Hong Kong after closing at its highest since Sept. 12 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced to a fresh record after Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee that wage growth remain too low even as the job market improves, and signaled that a change in the Fed’s guidance on interest rates won’t lock it into a timetable for tightening.

South Korea’s Kospi index and Taiwan’s Taiex index each advanced 0.7 percent. Japan’s Topix index was little changed. Singapore’s Straits Times Index increased 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index jumped 2.1 percent to a record close. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent.

Source : Bloomberg

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Asian Stocks Head for Five-Month High on Optimism About Greece

Asian stocks rose after U.S. shares climbed to a record amid speculation Greece will reach a resolution with its creditors.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3 percent to 143.65 as of 9:15 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for its highest since Sept. 19. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed above 2,100 for the first time in history, after a person familiar with the matter said Greece may request an extension of its loan agreement for six months. U.S. 10-year note yields approached a 2015 high, while gold held declines after slumping 1.8 percent yesterday.

An extension of Greece’s rescue package would be a step toward easing the stalemate over the country’s future financing. Discussions aimed at finding common ground ended on Feb. 16 without breaking an impasse. With no deal, Greece could run out of money by March may be forced to abandon the euro.

Japan’s Topix index advanced 1.2 percent after the yen weakened 0.7 percent against the dollar yesterday. Central bank policy makers are scheduled to finish a two-day meeting today, with no changes predicted. Officials view further monetary easing to shore up inflation as a counterproductive step for now, people familiar with the talks said last week.

Source : Bloomberg

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