Asian stocks rise after Wall Street surges on strong earnings as investors eye signs from Fed

TOKYO – Asian stocks swung upward early Wednesday, cheered by a surge in U.S. stocks buoyed by solid earnings, but investors were also waiting for signs from the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei, the benchmark for the region’s biggest bourse, jumped 1.5 per cent to 15,561.46 in morning trading. Japanese telecom Softbank Corp., which announced a large investment in Indian technology companies, rose 1.5 per cent, as did other major stocks like Sony and Toyota. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.2 per cent to 1,949.04 in early trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added nearly 1 per cent to 23,726.65.

WALL STREET: The S&P 500 rose 23.42 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 1,985.05 Tuesday. That puts it another strong day from its record high close of 2,011.36 on Sept. 18.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 187.81 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 17,005.75. The Nasdaq composite climbed 78.36 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 4,564.29.

UPBEAT EARNINGS: Earnings season around the world has lifted sentiments so far. In the U.S., healthy reports from Caterpillar and Whirlpool were behind the rise on Wall Street overnight. The picture is likely to be more mixed in Asia. Honda, which reported a rise in quarterly profit but lowered its annual forecast Tuesday, was up 0.3 per cent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

ALL EYES ON FED: Global investors are looking ahead to Wednesday’s announcement from the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee for insight into when the central bank might start raising interest rates. The Fed is winding down its $4 trillion bond-buying program, or quantitative easing. There are worries whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to keep growing without that. A hobbled U.S. economy is bad news for Asia’s export-oriented nations.

THE QUOTE: Chang Wei Liang at Mizuho Bank in Singapore said global stock prices have been supported by the expectation that the Fed won’t shift policy, “with the market anticipating no change in the forward guidance with continued emphasis on monetary accommodation.” In Asia, the industrial output data, released as trading began, showed Japan’s recovery remains on track, adding to the optimism, according to Liang.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil rose 23 cents to $81.65 a barrel in New York.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.17 yen from Tuesday’s 107.97 yen. The euro rose to $1.2734 from $1.2692.