Asian stocks rise

Asian stock markets  climbed Wednesday, supported by growing speculation that the Federal Reserve is likely to introduce more stimulus measures to support the U.S. economy, a key market for Asian exporters.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 82.69 points, or 0.9 percent, to 9,578.72. Sentiment was upbeat in Tokyo as a key central bank survey of business confidence at major Japanese manufacturers improved for the sixth straight quarter. But companies also signaled they are anxious about the future amid cooling global growth and a strong yen.

The Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey showed that the main index for large manufacturers stood at 8, up from 1 three months ago.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 277.90 points, or 1.3 percent, to 22,387.88 while South Korea’s Kospi increased 13.87, or 0.8 percent, to 1,869.84.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.2 percent at 4,678.50 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 percent to 2,626.00.

In New York overnight, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 46.10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,858.14 despite a slump in U.S. consumer confidence.

A monthly survey showed Tuesday that U.S. consumer confidence in September dropped to its lowest level since February. Economists closely monitor the confidence survey as consumer spending alone accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The weak confidence result sparked market speculation that the Fed might announce further stimulus measures at the end of a Nov. 2-3 meeting in a bid to shore up the recovery in the U.S. economy.

In currencies, the dollar was trading at 83.79 yen, down slightly from 83.84 yen late Tuesday in New York.

Benchmark crude for November delivery was up 26 cents at $76.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 34 cents to settle at $76.18 on Tuesday.
Source: AP

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