TOKYO — Asian stock markets rose Friday on expectations the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at a record low for several more months. Energy stocks advanced with the price of oil.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.8 percent to 18,282.85 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.9 percent to 22,767.44. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent to 2,019.53 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.9 percent at 5,251.90. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 3,160.67. Southeast Asian stock markets also rose.
FED FACTOR: Minutes from the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting showed officials expressing confidence that the U.S. economy was improving. But policymakers worried that inflation remains abnormally low, noting the recent drop in commodity prices. That was the main reason the Fed did not raise interest rates in September. Markets now think the Fed won't hike at its meetings in October or December, particularly after weak monthly employment numbers.
THE QUOTE: "Major share market indices sliced through key resistance levels in strong trading overnight, breaking the bear spell and suggesting the weakness of August and September is over. The bullish outlook is confirmed by rallies in key industrial commodities," Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets in Sydney wrote in a commentary.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.46 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,050.75 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 17.60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,013.43 and Nasdaq composite rose 19.64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,810.79.
ENERGY: The price of oil and energy stocks rose as Russia's military actions in Syria raised the risk of a wider conflict in the region. Benchmark U.S. oil gained 25 cents to $49.68 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.62, or 3.4 percent, to $49.43 a barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 20 cents to $53.58. It gained $1.72, or 3.4 percent, to $53.05 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar rose to 119.97 yen from 119.90 in the previous session. The euro slipped to $1.1279 from $1.1291.
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