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Asian Stock Markets Largely Grind Higher on Central Bank Outlooks

Asian stock markets largely moved forward Wednesday, as traders weighed the outlook for major global central banks to ease on policy tightening. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo all notched gains, as did most regional exchanges. Mumbai was closed on holiday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened higher and held ground, finishing up 0.7% on generally good earnings and the outlook for less tightening by the US Federal Reserve, given recent soft US housing and consumer reports.

The benchmark Nikkei 255 rose 181.56 to 27,431.84, notching the third straight days of gains, as rising issues outnumbered losers 132 to 88.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index rose 3.5% on the day.

In other news, the yen strengthened to near 147 to the US dollar, up from recent lows near 150.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened higher, wobbled, but still finished up 1% as traders weighed prospects for less central bank tightening. Tech stocks rallied.

The Hang Seng rose 152.08 to 15,317.67, snapping five straight trading days of losses, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 50 to 22. The Hang Seng TECH Index rose 2.5% on the day, while the Mainland Properties Index declined about 0.1%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.8% to 2,999.50.

On the other exchanges, the South Korean KOSPI rose 0.7%; the Taiwan TWSE inclined 0.5%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.2%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.8%, and the Thai Set declined 0.3%.

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