NEW YORK — Asian stocks rose Thursday after the U.S. and Japanese central banks left interest rates unchanged.
KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.4 percent to 24,007.40 points and the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.7 percent to 3,046.49. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.9 percent to 2,017.94 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 5,497.40. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose while Taiwan declined.
FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve kept its key interest rate unchanged but signaled it is likely to rise before year’s end. A Fed statement after its latest policy meeting said the U.S. job market has strengthened and economic activity has picked up but business investment is soft and inflation too low. The central bank said near-term risks to its economic outlook are “roughly balanced.” It was the first time it has used that wording since late last year, when it most recently raised rates.
ANALYST’S TAKE: The Fed said the case for a rate hike “has strengthened, but they will need more evidence of continued progress towards its objectives,” said Margaret Yang of CMC Markets in a report. Pointing to the “roughly balanced” language in the Fed statement, she said, “this statement basically increased the chances of a December rate hike.”
WALL STREET: Dividend-paying stocks rose on the Fed’s decision. Energy companies jumped with the price of oil. The Dow Jones industrial average added 163.74 points, or 0.9 percent, to 18,293.70. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 23.36 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,163.12. The Nasdaq composite rose 53.83 points, or 1 percent, to a record 5,295.18.
BANK OF JAPAN: The Japanese central bank said it will hold its short-term policy rate at negative 0.1 percent and might cut it further. The bank said it will keep stimulating the world’s third-largest economy until inflation is higher than 2 percent. The BoJ said it will continue asset purchases at a rate of about 80 trillion yen ($787 billion) a year. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.9 percent on the news.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 49 cents to $45.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 69 cents on Wednesday to close at $45.34. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 49 cents to $47.32 in London. It gained 95 cents the previous session to $46.83.
CURRENCY: The dollar edged up to 100.41 yen from Wednesday’s 100.30. The euro gained to $1.1184 from $1.1190.