Asian stocks rise for 2nd day after Wall Street gains


BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks rose Thursday for a second day after Wall Street gained on expectations U.S. interest rates will stay low.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,010.46 and Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 advanced 1.3 percent to 5,076.30. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained just under 0.1 percent to 16,886.35 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng held steady at 20,797.22.

US INTEREST RATES: Stock markets were encouraged by U.S. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen’s comments affirming plans to move slowly in raising rates. Analysts noted Yellen repeated previous statements they said still allow for rate hikes. “Global markets will probably still have to contend with more Fed tightening this year,” said Julian Jessop of Capital Economics in a report. But traders were reassured following suggestions by other Fed officials that the central bank should consider possible earlier rate hikes.

ANALYST’S QUOTE: “How long is this rebound going to last? No one can really give an answer at the moment; but one thing for sure is that Yellen’s re-affirmed dovish stance gave the market sufficient comfort and room to breathe,” said Margaret Yang Yan of CMC Markets in a report. “The chance of an April rate hike has diminished, and whether or not a June hike will materialize has now become more questionable.”

WALL STREET: Stocks rose Wednesday as technology companies traded higher and consumer companies gained steam. The financial sector recovered some of its losses. The The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.55 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,716.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 8.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,063.95. The Nasdaq composite index added 22.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,869.29.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 32 cents to $38.00 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 4 cents on Wednesday to close at $38.32. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 17 cents to $39.88 in London. It advanced 20 cents on Wednesday to $40.05.

CURRENCY: The dollar was unchanged at 112.35 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1322 from the previous day’s $1.1335.